Bourbon County wages for their employees is less than other counties, according to a study presented at a recent commission meeting.
Bourbon County employees are paid on average $15 per hour compared to other counties at $20 per hour, Sheriff Bill Martin said in an email to fortscott.biz.
On August 31, Martin went to the commission meeting to discuss salaries for county employees.
Martin, Bourbon County Undersheriff Ben Cole and Beth Tatarko, Vice-President of the Austin Peters Group, Overland Park https://austinpeters.com ( who was present by telephone), met with the commissioners to discuss a salary study that the Austin Peters Group had developed, according to the commission minutes.
“I wanted it done to see if our wages were competitive with other deputies’ salaries of equal or same size as us,” Martin said. “The (study) funding was split between the sheriff’s office and the county attorney’s office. Mine came out of the VIN inspection account.”
The salary study compared other counties and cities and a few private employers and reported that the average pay was $20.32 for those entities as compared to $15.56 for non-elected Bourbon County employees.
Tatarko said it would cost an estimated $322,122 to bring the hourly employee’s wages to the average, which didn’t include benefits.
Elected officials, except for the attorney, are less than average as well, according to the minutes.
She said Bourbon County doesn’t have a scale for pay wages and all employees will eventually make the same amount if they do the same job.
Tatarko said Bourbon County does have a more generous benefit package and leave time than others, according to the minutes.
All three county commissioners asked Martin what his recommendations are.
Martin answered that the commission planned to reduce the mill levy by 2.5 mills, and he suggested leaving the mill levy the same and setting money aside for wages, according to the minutes. However, the commission decided to stay with the reduction of the mill levy.
Commissioner Lynne Oharah suggested having Bourbon County Financial Director Susan Bancroft review the study and give the commission recommendations.
At the Sept. 2 commission meeting, Bancroft stated she did include a 10-year recap for each Bourbon County department in this year’s budget proposal.
There were major sheriff’s office changes from the time when the jail was built, according to the Sept. 2 minutes. Commodities and contractual items both stayed about the same but there was a shift in personnel services.
The jail was completed in 2017.
“Contractual items include meals, health and records management, etc.,” Sheriff Martin said. “Commodities: fuel, office supplies jail repairs/maintenance and outside medical. ”
Bancroft said that contractual for corrections has gone up in 2020 due to the food services industry and having a lot of inmates; depending on how many inmates there are, will determine that cost.
As of last Friday’s tally, the Bourbon County Law Enforcement Center jail is holding 45 inmates, with five from other counties.
Following a Bourbon County Commission executive session on August 31, Commissioner Clifton Beth said the commission knows this is a problem, and yet, Commissioner Jim Harris said, they hear from business owners that Bourbon County taxes are too high, according to the minutes.
Harris said the county needs to grow and if that happens, maybe the commission could take some of those funds from growth to use for the employee’s wages.