LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock County employees will see a larger paycheck. They approved their own raises in the Monday morning County Commissioners meeting and say it can all be done without a tax increase.
"We've found out, and documentation approves it's easy to retain folks than it is to retrain. So that's why we want to take care of the employees we have," says Lubbock County Commissioner, Patti Jones.
Lubbock County Commissioners voted on a proposal to give all county elected officials a 3.14% raise. Commissioners say they factored in five years worth of Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the cost of living adjustment percentage. On September 13th, Commissioners will vote on the same raise for all county employees.
"It was calculated on what somebody's salary was on the first part of July. We had to have a fixed number to be able to work on. So somebody can't put in a bunch of raises at the end of the fiscal year, affecting the cost of living raise on that," says Jones.
This is the first raise for elected officials in three years and the first for county employees in two years. In the past 9 years elected officials received raises three times and county officials seven times.
In order for elected officials to get their raise, commissioners will reallocate funds from the new jail, not approve some capital expenses and reorganize a laundry list of other items on the budget.
All 28 elected officials will share $37,045 when the raise takes effect. "Our elected officials are all full time employees, they don't have full time jobs. And I think anybody who was taking a job where they are would not be expected to be receiving the same pay today and they were receiving four years ago," says Jones.
One county service, University Medical Center proposed to actually lower the tax rate. Commissioners agreed and also voted to keep county taxes as is. "Giving the current economic situation, we thought it was best to keep the tax rate the same. We do anticipate a pretty significant increase in unfunded care from Lubbock County, a 6 million dollar increase," says University Medical Center CEO, David Allison.
Commissioners say UMC chose to use the effective rate of taxes versus the current rate. Lubbock County taxes will remain at the current. For instance for every $100,000 home, you'll save three cents.
"We can keep the taxes the same, still maintain profitability and that's important," says Allison.
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