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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Lawrence County Elected Leaders seek a 4 percent pay hike in 2024

LAWRENCE COUNTY - AUGUST 16, 2023 - The Lawrence County elected leaders are requesting a 4 percent pay increase for the 2024 budget year. The county employees are also set to receive a 4 percent pay increase.


The county commissioners absorbed the 11 percent increase in health care costs in 2023.


The Lawrence County commissioners went with IU Health Plan in 2024 saving about 12 percent in health care costs.


At this time, it not known whether the savings will be passed to the county or the employees.


Photo: Lawrence County Council members


Last year's, budget hearings were difficult with the Lawrence County Auditor using different projection of numbers for county council members to decide on a three or five percent raise for county employees and whether the county elected leaders will receive a raise after receiving a significant pay increase the year before.


The Lawrence County Council voted on three occasions to determine pay raises in 2023. At first only giving thee percent across the board pay increases.


However, former Sheriff Mike Branham asked then, County President Scott Smith permission to approach the county council for a five percent pay increase for public safety personnel.


The Lawrence County Council then approved the 5 percent pay increase for public safety personnel and three percent for other county employees.


This vote did not make the county elected officials happy and then had a third request for Lawrence County president Scott Smith take a third vote for a five percent pay increase for all employees.


Here is a look at the Lawrence County elected leaders proposed salaries in 2024:

  • County Recorder - $54,401

  • County Surveyor - $37,256

  • County Treasurer - $55,155

  • County Clerk -$56,834

  • County Auditor - $58,559 in addition receives payment to be secretary with additional stipends from county commissioners and county council this year the stipend is $4,093 each

  • County Council divided by 7- $6,206]

  • County Coroners - $22,811

  • County Assessor - $57,059

With the proposed increases most county elected leaders will have over a 20 percent pay increase since 2021. With the Lawrence County Auditor having a 25-30 percent pay increase.


Last year's pay increases for Lawrence County elected officials:


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.


In 2023, the net assessed value of property in Lawrence County is at $2 billion with most taxpayers having to pay more in property taxes.


The tax rate for the City of Bedford is at $3.036 which is the largest levy on residents with a full-time police and fire protection, as well as other city services.


The Lawrence County Zephyr has reviewed the 2024 budget with the county budget about four million dollars in additional spending for 2024. More details will be available in upcoming features.


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