Posted 4 months ago
By John Axtell
Nebraska law requires county boards to set the salaries for all elected officials for their next 4-year term of office the January before the general election, and the Dawes County Commissioners are looking to boost their salaries back to traditional levels while holding the line on the others in the county.
At least, those are the instructions they gave Wednesday for the salary ordinance they’ll approve at their first meeting next month. All the officials are up for election next year except Commissioner Webb Johnson and Public Defender
Board chairman Jake Stewart says it’s been very hard trying to find the right level of salaries to fit the Dawes County economy while staying within a salary range recommended by NACO…the Nebraska Association of County Officials.
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The salary resolution instructions call for the commissioners to go from $19,391 to $21,500 while the county Clerk, Sheriff, Assessor, Treasurer, and Clerk of the District Court will be at $43,000…a $630 increase from their 2014 salary.
The County Attorney would be at roughly $64,000 and the Public Defender at a little more than $46,000. All the officials would get an annual cost-of-living increase over the 4 years equal to the increase in the Consumer Price Index to a maximum of 3%.
The commissioners had traditionally made half the salary of the other officials since their positions are part-time, but 4 years ago the then-board froze their salaries while allowing the others to get 3% annual cost-of-living hikes. Chairman Stewart says the proposed $2,100 raise would fill the gap that’s grown since then.
The County Clerk would receive $2,400 above her base salary for her additional duties as county Election Commissioner and Registrar of Deeds. The Assessor would continue to receive a similar amount for serving as the county Planning and Zoning Director.
The elected officials will also see a change in the share of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance premium they pay….which currently has them paying 25% of the premium with the option of single, single-plus-one, or family plans.
Starting next month, that will change to 90-10 with only single or single-plus-one options available – although the officials will be able to pay the difference for family coverage.
Only 3 of the 10 currently have family coverage, and the change would actually cost them less…based on current premiums.