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27.5 Cent Property Tax Increase On Table For Putnam Budget

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
27.5 Cent Property Tax Increase On Table For Putnam Budget

The Putnam County Budget Committee voted 6-1 Thursday to take the next step with a 27.5 cent property tax rate increase for county residents.

The approved proposal includes fully funding a new pay scale plan for county employees and 91 new employees. Mayor Randy Porter and his team will bring more formal cost estimates to the next committee meeting Monday night.

“I have yet to see us come this close to actually doing some real meaningful reform to make Putnam County a good place to work,” Commissioner Jonathan Williams said. “We finally did an actual survey. We did a study. We have hard data in front of us and now we have a solution to address that survey. So I hope this body and I hope the commission at large doesn’t throw that salary study in the trash and let’s do the right thing by our employees. I know it’s going to cost us money, but it’s the right thing to do.”

The county commissioned a pay study that considered both government and private sector salaries, and the necessary marketplace adjustments needed to match county employee salaries to those numbers. Williams worked off that study and created a second plan that would help employees top out to their max salaries faster, 10 years for emergency and sheriffs department employees, 15 years for other county employees. It also ensured that no county employee would make less than $30,000.

Porter told commissioners Thursday night that second plan would cost $3.6 million, about $400,000 more than the original study.

In the final vote of the night, Budget Committee members approved going with that plan with one change. Step raises would be eliminated for this fiscal year only because the majority, if not all, employees would be getting the marketplace adjustment.

The committee also voted to take some $4.5 million out of the county’s fund balance as a one-time funding mechanism for this year’s spending needs. An additional $1.5 million in capital requests, specifically new vehicles, will be removed from the general fund budget and funded through the capital projects fund. That vote Thursday night adds a total of $6 million to the county general fund to pay for this year’s requests.

During the vote, county commissioner Dale Moss said he did not think you would find 13 votes on the full county commission to pass that tax increase.


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