The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

September 12, 2013

County workers could receive 3 percent pay raise

By Kim West

— Approximately 250 county employees are set receive a 3 percent raise as part of Limestone’s fiscal 2014 budget.

The $33.2 million overall budget is among the agenda items awaiting approval for the County Commission meeting at 10 a.m. Monday at the Clinton Street courthouse annex.

The cost-of-living adjustment comprises less than 0.9 percent of the budget. County officials said a 3 percent COLA has been part of the county’s budget dating back at least 20 years.

The finalized budget was introduced during Wednesday’s work session after department heads presented their projections during budget hearings in mid-July. The new budget year starts Oct. 1.

County Accountant Emily Ezzell said appropriation requests also will be announced Monday pending budget approval.

The county has budgeted $399,059 for school resource officers after the county and Limestone County Schools agreed to share the cost of adding SRO coverage for the county’s six standalone elementary schools. The entities already split the $516,908 cost for full-time officers at the county’s seven high school facilities, including the Career Technical Center.

Ezzell said the budgeted amount for elections would increase from $280,000 to $440,000 in case special elections are needed during the 2014 election cycle.

“We try to budget conservatively, and our departments do a good job managing their budgets,” Ezzell said. “I’m anticipating finishing fiscal 2014 with about $600,000 to $700,000 (remaining), but you never know what might happen during the fiscal year.”