By: Laura-Jane Hatcher (WRGA News)
All Floyd County employees, including the ailing public safety department, can expect a heftier paycheck sometime very soon.
Before a crowded audience made up of Floyd County Police and Sherriff’s Deputies, the county commission finally passed their 2013 budget which includes a one-time lump-sum raise to all the county’s 750 employees.
Commissioners were set on upping salaries at the Tuesday night meeting, but were unsure on how to implement the increase. They first debated adding the one-percentage boost to every paycheck, but decided instead to dish out the increase in one, big check. Commissioner Gary Fricks said that this lump-sum bonus, which he estimates could be around 400-450 dollars, was done with the lowest paid employees in mind.
“We felt like distributing out this raise in the first year is the easiest way, because we feel people on the lower end brackets of the salaries are the ones more negatively affected by the things that are challenging the economy today, like gas prices,” Fricks said. “So, we want to do what we can to help them and tell them thanks for being loyal to Floyd County and being here.”
What was not included in the budget was an increase of the Floyd County Police salary on-top of the one-time bonus. Low wages have been blamed in-part for the Police and Sherriff’s Office’s high turn-over rate. In light of this, a drove of public safety officers turned out to the meeting, including Sherriff Tim Burkhalter.
“We all need a raise,” Burkhalter said before the meeting. “I think in public safety, they have gone without raises for six years, and they do a really dangerous job—--the county police do and so does the Sherriff’s Office. And we’re here to get a chair at the table, to let them know we feel pretty strongly about it, too.”
Though they did not up their salaries above the extra bonus, Commissioners did form a sub-committee to review the issue.
All Floyd County employees can expect a pretty fat check soon, but the date has yet to be set.