officials vote not to increase their salaries
Other than a possible cost of living increase
coming after the first of the year, there won't be a
pay raise for Platte County's elected officials.
That was the decision made at a meeting
of the Platte County Salary Commission Tuesday afternoon.
The salary commission is comprised of the county's elected
officeholders, and meets every two years to discuss
pay rates for themselves.
Members of the salary commission attending
the meeting were First District Commissioner Michael
Short (chair), Second District Commissioner Steve Wegner,
Presiding Commissioner Betty Knight, Sheriff Richard
Anderson, Public Administrator Janet Wooddell, Assessor
Christine McQuitty, Collector Donna Nash, Treasurer
Bonnie Brown, County Clerk Sandy Krohne, Auditor Sandra
Thomas, Recorder Ida Cox.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd did
not attend, as his salary would not have been affected
by any action. The prosecutor's salary is set by state
statute to be the same as that of an associate circuit
court judge, which right now is $96,000.
Tuesday's decision will keep the salaries
at $60,765 for the county clerk, public administrator,
assessor, collector, treasurer, auditor, presiding commissioner,
Salaries for the two associate commissioners
will remain at $58,765.
Salary for the sheriff follows a state-determined
scale and is based on the county's assessed valuation.
The Platte County sheriff's salary will remain $66,095.
The state legislature establishes a salary
scale for county officials, but the counties are not
bound to abide by it. Platte County several years ago
voted to pay its officials at the top of the salary
scale, and in fact is at about 106% of the scale right
now after cost of living pay increases have been given
to officeholders in recent years.
The existence of a salary commission and
its duties came to the public forefront in Platte County
back in 1997, when a majority of officeholders voted
in favor of a nearly 30% pay increase. A majority of
officeholders initially passed a motion taking the raise
effective immediately, but later were advised by counsel
that it would violate the state constitution to do so.
The constitution does not allow for raises
to be given mid-termany pay increase cannot take
effect until another election is held for the affected
positions and the succeeding term begins
Tuesday's meeting was opened by Platte
County Circuit Court Clerk Sandra Dowd, per state statute.
Dowd is not on the salary commission, as the circuit
clerk's salary is paid by the state.
The group began by re-electing Short as
chairman of the salary commission.
Then came a brief report on the finances
of the county, a report that must verify that the county
is financially solvent. In her report, Auditor Sandra
Thomas noted that sales tax collections in the county
"remain flat or are down a little bit.
Thomas speculated that sales tax collections
may be flattening out after peaking with the additions
of Wal-Mart and Lowes stores in the county.
Collections may have peaked, she noted,
"until we get some other stuff (retail stores)
Short explained options to the committee,
which ranged from doing nothing to passing a motion
which essentially kept things the same, or opening the
floor to discussion to either raise or lower the salaries.
Anderson soon made a motion that was unanimously
passed to keep the salaries as is.
The county commission is authorized to
adjust compensation of county offices effective Jan.
1 of each year as a cost of living adjustment, which
shall be in the form of a percentage that shall be the
same for all county officers. The officeholders' cost
of living increases shall not exceed the percentage
given to county employees.