The Bourbon County Commission accepted the budget for the fiscal year of 2018 Tuesday, giving raises to employees without raising the mill levy.
“I think it’s a good budget,” said Terry Sercer, certified public accountant for Diehl Banwart Bolton. “You guys worked hard on it this year.”
The commissioners spent the past couple months accepting budget requests from county departments, trying to see where money could be saved while also trying to provide competitive wages for their employees.
The commissioners settled on giving all hourly employees a 75 cents per hour raise, while officers of the Sheriff’s Office received a $1.75 per hour raise. These raises will go into effect in January.
“We’ve raised it to where it’s competitive,” commissioner Lynne Ohara said, specifically of the sheriff’s department wages, which he said are now caught up to the average wages of surrounding counties as recorded as recently as 2015.
With the higher wages, the commissioners said they hope to save money in the long run through the retention of employees, preventing the need to train new officers or pay for overtime if they become shorthanded.
Overall, the county has fewer employees than in past years, which has also allowed the commissioners to save funds. The county also did not include potential revenue from the new law enforcement center such as if cells are leased for inmates from other counties.
The commissioners said the county continues to have a need for new industry and jobs, though the current focus on economic development and the positive housing market has had a positive impact.
“A lot of good things are happening,” commissioner Jeff Fischer said.