Commissioners approve pay increases, library funding

19_8005HOLIDAY TIME  — Gabby Beaman and her pal Holden, a St. Bernard puppy, want to remind readers that The I-O will be closed on Labor Day. The paper will be put together on Wednesday and put out on Thursday. We hope everyone has a super and safe Holiday as the summer season winds down.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler




County commissioners moved to approve an increase of salary of one percent (.19 cents per hour) for all elected officials on Wednesday.

Full-time and part-time employees will also receive a pay raise of .19 cents.

The increase will only be for 10 months, effective on the September payroll through June 2011 payroll.

This results in less than $32 per month for full-time employee salary and will just cover the additional employee cost for health insurance.

In other action by the commission, after a hearing was conducted on the preliminary budget, library funding for the Conrad and Valier Libraries for FY2010-11 was approved.

Conrad Librarian Carolynn Donath was on hand to make a pitch for increased funding for the library.

Funding for the two entities over the past few years has become a sticky topic.

Their funding split is based on an old formula on cemetery districts, which came about after a joint library board was dissolved, leaving the funding decision to commissioners.

Presently the funding is split 57-43 percent (Conrad-Valier).

Donath would like to see the funding be based on a population. With Conrad having a population of 2,577 and Valier 469, under a new formula the appropriation split could be, rounded off, 85-15 (Conrad-Valier) percent.

Donath commented, “We service a lot of people and do a good job, we’re bigger and we’d like what we deserve.”

She noted that circulation is up, from 24,577 to 31,572, the patron count was 23,850 and Internet use is climbing with 14,371 users, approximately 45 more per week not counting wireless users.

Earlier the commissioners had asked the two libraries to meet and see if they could hammer out their differences. They met once with nothing being resolved.

Commissioner Joe Christiaens moved to fund the two public libraries at the same dollar amount as each received in the last fiscal year.

The Conrad Library received $87,589 and the Valier Library $61,073, or $148,662 for the two.

His motion was seconded by Commissioner Cynthia Johnson and passed on a 3-0 vote.

In other business, the commissioners approved the Walston 3 lot minor subdivision and moved on a government-to-government transfer, giving a surplus computer to the Valier Cemetery District.

The final budget for the county has not yet been adopted and comments will continue to be taken and considered until the final adoption.

The commissioners meet every Wednesday at 10 a.m. to conduct business. The meetings are open and the public is always invited to attend.