Kendall board split over hiking county employee pay
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org October 20, 2012 8:42AM
Updated: November 23, 2012 6:06AM
YORKVILLE — Still expecting to cut the tax levy, the Kendall County Board has put the 2013 budget on display.
The budget of more than $66 million includes a general operating fund of about $26.3 million. That fund would have a deficit of about $1.1 million, to be covered by the county’s fund balance.
That is down from the almost $1.4 million deficit county officials started with at the beginning of the budget process. After cutting about $300,000 from the budget requests, officials anticipate actually cutting more before the final budget is approved Nov. 20.
“I think it’ll come in under $1 million,” said Finance Committee Chairman Anne Vickery. “The department heads and staff work very hard to bring this in line, I give all the credit to them.”
One item controversial among board members are the pay raises planned for employees, particularly to four department heads. Vickery defended the increases given to Andy Nicolletti, supervisor of assessments, Anna Payton, animal control warden, Angela Zubko, the senior planner at the county, and Jim Smiley, facilities director.
She said all four have saved the county money and done exemplary work, and the raises proposed in the budget bring them closer to what similar employees in other counties are paid.
“With these raises we are giving, they are still going to be under what their counterparts in other counties get,” she said.
The raises are: $4,000 a year for both the supervisor of assessments and animal control warden; and $3,000 a year for the senior planner and facilities director.
The budget includes $975 for the year for every other employee.
County officials decided to give dollar raises instead of percentages, because they still are negotiating with union employees, and did not want to establish a percentage.
But several County Board members indicated they would not vote for the final budget with the current salary increases.
“I will not support a budget with anything more than 1 percent,” said board member Jeff Wehrli.
Board member Bob Davidson said he could not support the raises “in today’s economy.”
“I’m proud of these employees, but we cannot afford these increases,” he said.
By budgeting with a deficit, the county is cutting into its fund balance for the third year in a row. According to the tentative budget, that balance would go down to about $13.4 million.
Officials have said they still intend to lower the tax levy – the amount of property tax money the county takes – by about 3 percent.
People can see a copy of the budget at the county office, or online at the county’s website at www.co.kendall.il.us/county.../budgets/KC_FY12_Budget.pdf.