Government

Linn County supervisors approve raises for themselves, others

Vote comes after supervisors twice rejected pay raises for the board

CEDAR RAPIDS — After rebuffing pay raises for the last two years, Linn County supervisors agreed Wednesday to accept increases worth over 11 percent apiece that will put the three of them on par with the $115,726 annual salaries for the county recorder, auditor and treasurer.

The fiscal 2020 budget, which takes effect July 1, leaves the county’s property tax rate unchanged despite raises for supervisors and other elected county officials.

For area residents, the tax rate of $5.84 per $1,000 in taxable valuation marks the second year since officials cut 30 cents from the county levy. Residents, though, should expect that rate next year to bounce back to about $6.14, which the county had maintained for years up to fiscal 2018. The rural rate of $2.71 also is unchanged.

Raymond Stefani, a member of the Linn County Compensation Board that recommends pay adjustments for elected officials, Wednesday proposed pay increase for supervisors and other elected county positions.

“Supervisors and the auditor have — in good old street language — skipped raises in the past, which were in my opinion well-deserved,” Stefani said. “This is an appropriate catch-up.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the budget and the recommended pay changes.

The changes include a roughly $6,300 increase for the supervisors — Stacey Walker, Ben Rogers and Brent Oleson — and about a $3,200 increase for County Auditor Joel Miller.

Those would place them in line with the salaries of Recorder Joan McCalmant and Treasurer Sharon Gonzalez.

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In addition to those amounts, all elected county officials also will receive a 5 percent increase effective July 1.

That will put annual pay for the supervisors, the recorder, treasurer and auditor at $115,726. County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden will earn $184,943 and Sheriff Brian Gardner will earn $159,751, according to county documents.

After Linn County voters upset over county salaries agreed to reduce the size of the board from five to three, supervisors last year voted to freeze their pay and reject an increase recommended by the compensation board. Supervisors also froze their pay in 2017 and accepted Auditor Miller’s request to not receive a pay increase.

All told, the county budget this coming fiscal year is about $157 million, marking a roughly 33 percent increase from the more typical $118 million budget.

The increase is due to the upcoming completion of the over $30 million Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris Public Health and Youth Development Services building near 10th Avenue SE and Seventh Street SE in Cedar Rapids.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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