County Elected Official Takes issue with the percentage of pay Increases over the last two years
Updated: Mar 30
LAWRENCE COUNTY - MARCH 29, 2023 - A Lawrence County elected official has taken issue with the percentage of pay increases for the Republican elected leaders in the county over the last two years, during a news feature the Lawrence County Zephyr reported on earlier today.
The news feature was in relation to the property tax increases that most county property owners will be facing in Spring/Fall tax period.
The official's name is being withheld for this news story however, the official maintains their salary only increased by five percent.
This official's salary has increased over 20 percent with the salary increases in budget years 2022 and 2023. This does not factor in the 11 percent health insurance the county absorbed on behalf of the county employees.
At this time, it is not known whether this employee takes part in the county's health care plan.
Photo: Lawrence County Commissioners agreed to absorb the 11 percent health insurance care coverage in 2023
Therefore, Lawrence County Zephyr has taken a closer look at these percentage increases for accuracy and public disclosure.
Many of the county elected leaders maintain they were the lowest paid in the area.
Lawrence County Commissioners agreed to absorb the county employee's health care cost of premiums which had a 11 percent increase in 2023. With the cost of health insurance factored into the cost to taxpayers. The pay increase is even much larger than the salary of the elected officials.
Photo: In 2022 Budget Hearings the Lawrence County Council voted three times on whether county employees and elected officials should receive a pay increase. Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs invited Jaque Clements, Indiana Association of Counties to justify the pay increases for both elected officials and employees
Here is the salary increases from 2021 into the 2022 budget year. Add 5 percent for the salary increases for 2022 into 2023.
County Coroner from $19,706 to $21,282 - 7.9975 percent increase add 5 percent for 2023, Total 13 percent increase for both budget years
County Surveyor from $31,580 to $34,107 - 8.0018 percent increase add 5 percent for 2023 - 13 percent increase for both budget years
County Recorder from $43,200 to $49,817 - 15 percent increase add 5 percent for 2023 - 21 percent increase for both budget years
County Treasurer from $43,200 to $50,507 - 16 percent increase add 5 percent for 2023 - 22 percent increase for both budget years
County Clerk from $43,530 to $52,046 -19 percent increase add 5 percent for 2023 - 25 percent pay increase for both budget years
County Assessor from $44,530 to $52,251 - 17 percent increase add 5 percent for 2023 - Total 23 percent pay increase for both budget years
County Auditor from $44,530 to $53,625 - 20 percent increase add $3,300 for secretary for Commissioners and Council. Add 5 percent increase for 2023 $56,306 which is a 26 percent increase
County Council from $52,875 (split seven ways) to $56,058 - 6 percent increase and 5 percent increase in 2023 - Total 11 percent increase for both years
County Commissioners from $66,117 (split three ways) to $70,084 - 5.9 percent increase for 2023 - Total 11 percent increase for both years
According to Jaque Clements Indiana Association of Indiana Counties during the budget hearings in 2022 the county the property tax increases and assessed values of property owners helped justify the pay increases for Lawrence County elected officials who received over a 20 percent pay increase in the two budget cycles.
Certified Net Assessed Value in 2022 - $1,676,588,883 or $ 1.7 Billion
Certified Net Assessed Value estimated in 2023 - $1,956,925,888 or $ 2 Billion
Maximum Levy for 2023 - $9,711,561 - Total levy used in 2023 - $10,547,439 which is over budget of $335,878.
Clements in telephone conference last budget cycle help guide the council in establishing tax levies and give support to Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs request for pay increases for county elected officials.
The figures by the Indiana Association of Counties reported a deficit of $335,878 in 2022. This helped the Lawrence County Council members justify the pay increases for both the county employees and elected leaders who already got a huge boost in their salaries.
Video: The Lawrence County Health Department never received notice their budget was cut 24 percent with the Lawrence County Aviation receiving a 165 budget increase. The public was not allowed to speak about the proposed levy changes
Lawrence County brought in $36.2 Million in property taxes in which the county was owed $38 Million.
The property tax sale held in October 2022 brought in $1.2 Million with a total of 83 parcels which was collected for 2021.
The budget for Lawrence County is $29 Million for 2023.
Other taxing units could have a impact on some property tax bills:
Lawrence County Solid Waste District asked for maximum levy this year
North Lawrence Community School tax rate remained the same despite consolidation
Mitchell Community Schools tax rate seen a slight decrease
Lawrence County Fire Territory tax increase for Shawswick and Guthrie Townships
City of Bedford residents have the highest tax rate of 3.777 per assessed value
Lawrence County Aviation seen a increased the budget by 165 percent and Lawrence County Health Budget was reduced by 32 percent
The public comment period for the original tax levies in 2023 were held at the beginning of the budget process. However, tax payers were not allowed to speak about the new changes to tax levy changes during the budgets, salary increases or budget increases at the end of the budget process.
Let us know how the property taxes increased impacted you by in 2023.
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