Property tax payers will fund county pay raises -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Property tax payers will fund county pay raises

Chris Cohilas Chris Cohilas
Commissioner Lamar Hudgins Commissioner Lamar Hudgins
Konterrias Roddy Konterrias Roddy
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County employees could soon see a little more in their paychecks, but it will cost taxpayers.

The upcoming budget includes a pay increase for all county employees, but in order to do so, property taxes will also go up.

After requests from several departments, county employees are getting raises. "It's really the only way we could do it," said Commissioner Lamar Hudgins.

That way involves raising the millage rate from 11.894 to 12.594. "Which is not insurmountable for most. About $28 a year for a $100,000 house, so do the math from there."

Hudgins, the finance committee chairman, says the last millage rate increase was in 2004, and it's been decreased over the years, until now.

"It's basically a millage increase to sustain the pay increase. We could take it out of fund balance, but at some point it would catch up with us, probably next year."

The proposed changes are included in the 2015-2016 budget, which commissioners reviewed today. The Sheriff and county police chief have said they're losing good officers because of low pay, and Chairman Chris Cohilas says it's impacting county offices too.

"We have such high turnover that we're actually having to internalize more training costs because we train people, they go to different positions in other counties and other cities who have more competitive budgets and then we have to pay to retrain again," Cohilas said.

Employees will see a 2.5% cost of living adjustment and a 2.86% merit raise.

Some taxpayers say it seems fair. "Especially if property taxes are going up marginally, if there's a marginal increase then I think that will be a good trade," Konterrias Roddy said.

Commissioners will continue reviewing sections of the budget in the coming weeks.

County employees will see the cost of living adjustment July first. The merit raise will go into effect at their annual review.

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