Pay raise a relief to county workersPublished 9:18am Thursday, September 12, 2013
By Charles Molineaux
HUNTSVILLE – Madison County employees will receive a long-awaited 5 percent salary increase under a new 2013-2014 county budget approved by the county commission.
The $153.8 million spending plan was unanimously approved amidst praise from commission members.
“I’m glad we were able to work in the 5 percent,” said Commissioner Steve Haraway. “It’s been four years and that’s a long time. There have been a lot of increases in just the overall cost of living.”
“You notice that your home insurance, your electricity, groceries, your gas, everything went up and you notice that you’re paying with the same money you paid with four years ago,” said Lucy Lloyd, an employee with the tax assessor’s office.
“I’ve said before and I’ll say again – I don’t know how the lower end employees get by on what they’re making,” Commissioner Roger Jones added.
On top of the 5 percent, the budget includes additional pay increases for law enforcement, a $1,000 bonus for county deputies and a $500 bonus for guards at the jail.
In unveiling the budget, Commission Chairman Dale Strong said it was the product of tight spending controls, including a hiring freeze, changes to employee medical insurance and steps to reduce the number of inmates at the county jail. He predicted more spending control though attrition and strict scrutiny of future job vacancies.
Changes in health coverage scaled back the county’s annual costs by more than $3 million, but required higher expenses for workers – a painful adjustment for some.
“I hate that their insurance coverage is not as good as it used to be,” Jones said, “but it’s as good as we can make it.”