Linn County Supervisors approve second reading of minimum wage ordinance

Third reading set for Monday in Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS — One more vote stands between Linn County residents and a local minimum wage ordinance.

The Linn County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday voted 4-1, with District 5 Supervisor John Harris opposed, to approve the second of three required readings of a countywide minimum wage ordinance that would bring the local hourly rate up to $10.25 by 2019.

The board plans to hold its third reading of the ordinance during its meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 12, at the Jean Oxley Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW in Cedar Rapids.

After a second vote, no substantial changes are to be made to the ordinance.

Harris, who is not opposed to raising the minimum wage, has said some of his constituents have voiced concerns to him about the $3 increase over three years.

The board on Tuesday tabled its second vote on the ordinance to allow the county attorney’s office time to add some language to the ordinance draft. In addition to citing home rule authority, the ordinance draft now notes a higher minimum wage as a county human services provision.

While some have questioned whether or not county boards have the power to set minimum wages higher than the state and federal rate of $7.25 an hour, the state’s only existing minimum wage ordinance — in Johnson County — has not been challenged in court since it passed almost one year ago.

Meanwhile, other Iowa counties, including Lee, Polk and Wapello are taking up the minimum wage discussion.

Johnson County was the first in Iowa to adopt a higher minimum wage ordinance. The ordinance passed the five-member board last year, and this May marked the second of three 95-cent-an-hour increases to the county rate. On Jan. 1, it reaches $10.10 an hour. Future increases in Johnson County are tied to the consumer price index.

If approved in Linn County, the first of three $1 increases would take place Jan. 1. Another $1 increase would follow on Jan. 1, 2018, and the final $1 increase would take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

If a countywide ordinance is approved, city councils would have the option of going along with the measure or passing their own counter ordinance setting a minimum wage different from the county’s.

Read the full text of the draft ordinance here:



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