Commissioners approve salary increases

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
Commissioners approve salary increases
ROAD WATERING — Last week the I-O ran a story about water from pivots being on county roads. The city was doing a fine job of watering down Seventh Ave. near the Conrad Lions Swimming Pool Park. In case they missed it, spraying water on roadways increases erosion, which may lead to an increase in taxes. Eroded streets may lead to damage to vehicles and an unexpected blast of water on the windshield could cause an accident. Then again, maybe local governments don’t have to play by the same rules they impose on taxpayers. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
   County commissioners on Wednesday, at their regular weekly meeting moved to pass Resoution-2 which dealt with salary increases.
   The County Compensation Board, in May, recommended that compensation for elected officials be up to five percent, 3.8 percent COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) and 1.2 percent raise.
   Clerk and Recorder Janice Hoppes worked up several pay scale matrixes for commissioners to discuss, ranging from 3-5 percent.
   Part-time elected officials will receive the pro-rated amount of the salary, Justice of the Peace 81.25 percent and Superintendent of Schools at 50 percent.
   The commissioners and sheriff will also receive $2,000 annually allowed under state statues and the Superintendent of Schools will receive $200..
   The resolution also covered an additional $2,000 for the clerk and recorder who serves as election administrator and the same was approved for the treasurer.
   Salaries for the three commissioners will be $41,746.88 and includes an additional $2,000 per year required by state statue.
   The treasurer will be paid $39,746.88 plus additional $2,000; the clerk and recorder the same; and the clerk of court will receive $39,746.88.
   The sheriff/coroner will be paid $43,018.68 with an additional $2,000 required by state statue.
   The deputy sheriff/coroner will receive $50 per coroner call that is less than eight hours in duration and $100 for each call that is more than eight hours in duration.
   The county attorney will be paid $78,035.48 with the state reimbursing the county at a rate set by statue.
   The JP will be paid $32,294.34 and the superintendent of schools $20,073.48. The public administrator, salary is based on an hourly rate of the clerk and recorders base salary.
   The commissioners moved to set the hourly full-time and regular part-time employers at an increase of $.50 per hour. The road department supervisor will receive an increase in monthly salary at the rate of $.56 per hour.
   The gross base wages for deputies to elected officials and sheriff’s deputies will be calculated at 95 percent for the undersheriff, 90 percent for the chief sheriff’s deputy and 86 percent for all other deputies and deputies to other elected officials.
   The clerk and recorder deputies will continue to receive an additional $50 per month as deputy election administrators.
   Hourly rates will remain the same for season employees, public assistance clerk, temporary employees and part-time employees working fewer than 750 hours-per-year.
   Just as a side line, commissioners in Teton County have approved five percent raises for themselves on a 2-1 vote.
   In other business, the commissioners moved and passed motion, 3-0, to close Morton Ave. in Dupuyer on Aug. 1 for Grizzly Day.
   The commissioners approved the local government infrastructure grant program contract. The grant is for $147,656 and will go towards the remodeling of the new senior and Community Center.
   The funding comes through the Montana Reinvestment Act. (HB-645), the federal stimulus funding bill.
   A contract was approved with High Line Communications for labor, materials, supplies and installation of the radio tower at the Broken Pick site.
   A letter was read by Sandy Broesder from the USDA which noted that the county is designated as moderately dry. The county has the option of having the governor petition the USDA for drought assistance for producers.
   Commissioner Cyndi Johnson suggested visiting with Extension Agent Dan Picard and Duane VanDyke, from the Farm Services Agency before making a decision.
   There was discussion on the designation of funding for secure rural schools.
   In the past, the county has designated the funding to Title III, but the funding was not used and commissioners Broesder and Johnson will look into accessing the funds already designated.
   The county anticipates federal funding of about $136,000 and project applications are due by 2011. No action was taken on this item. The commissioners are going to look for more clarification.
   Joe Christiaens noted the weeds around the Valier airport farm land are getting out of control. The commission agreed to hire an individual to spray the weeds in the farm land at the airport.
   And in a show of support, the commissioners approved the county’s co-sponsorship with NACo of a proposed resolution opposing new taxes on local government(s) through federal climate revenues.
   Johnson commented that HR-2454 as passed by the House could have significant cost increases to local government(s), employers and householders at a time of income reduction and is estimated to a $22 billion cost to government(s), businesses by 2020.
   There will be no meeting on Wednesday as commissioners Broesder and Johnson are out of town at the national NACo convention in Nashville.