Government

Johnson County adding 12 jobs in 2020 budget

Board of Supervisors Office among those adding employees

The Johnson County Health and Human Services building (right) is connected by a skywalk over E. Benton Street to the Johnson County Administration Building. (Gazette file photo)
The Johnson County Health and Human Services building (right) is connected by a skywalk over E. Benton Street to the Johnson County Administration Building. (Gazette file photo)

IOWA CITY — Johnson County is adding 12 jobs in the coming fiscal year.

The fiscal 2020 budget, approved by county supervisors last week, calls for $138.3 million in spending.

It adds 11.9 full-time equivalent jobs, at a cost of about $960,000.

The additional hours or positions, some of them part-time, are being added in the ambulance department, the county attorney’s office, public health department and the Board of Supervisors’ office.

A part-time cook will be added for the Johnson County Jail, and a SEATS paratransit driver and a code enforcement inspector will be hired. Half-year contract extensions are planned for an assistant planner, a natural resources specialist and a social worker.

The two new positions in the supervisors’ office will focus on communications and inclusion and equity, according to the county.

The ambulance department additions will allow the county to operate an ambulance for an additional four hours a day, seven days a week.

In total, the fiscal 2020 budget will support nearly 495 full-time equivalent positions, not counting short-term staff like poll workers, said Dana Aschenbrenner, the county’s finance director.

Salaries for the new positions have yet to be determined, Aschenbrenner said. In budgeting, finance staff use estimates.

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“It might depend on whether they’re covered under collective bargaining agreements, but generally there’s a salary range for the various positions,” Aschenbrenner said. “We usually take the midpoint as kind of the salary estimates and then we have to fill in with benefits if they’re benefit eligible and how much that will cost as well.”

The fiscal year 2019 budget had similar staff additions, adding 12.3 full-time equivalent positions.

The supervisors received requests to add about 25 full-time equivalent employees at the start of the 2020 budgeting process, and whittled down that number, Supervisor Pat Heiden said.

“We were very thoughtful and deliberate in the decision-making process,” Heiden said.

Supervisor Janelle Rettig was the only supervisor to vote against the 2020 budget, citing concerns that included spending too much money to grow the board’s staff and the use of county conservation bond money.

“We have to think about all the wear and tear that’s being put on one person,” Supervisor Royceann Porter responded to Rettig’s concerns during the approval process. “As we expand in Johnson County, we’re going to grow. We’re not going to get any smaller so we need to add these positions.”

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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