After the Compensation Board recommended a seven percent wage increase for all elected county officials, the Board of Supervisors voted and approved on five percent increase at the Jan. 27 regular meeting.

“I have to recuse myself from voting on this as I have had a long time relationship with the treasurer as you might know, I can however give you my opinion,” said Supervisor Tom Swearingin. “In years past, the county officials were given either no raise or a very small raise. It’s put our officials in Wayne County down at the very bottom of the pay scale. Will we ever be at the top of the pay scale, no. We may not even be at the top of the bottom one-fourth, but I do believe we can do a little better that we are.”

“The Compensation Board does a good job and it’s a tough job and they don’t see the numbers we see,” Swearingin continued. “Going over the budget the ending balances look like they are going to be good and we can afford some raises.”

“I was at the Compensation Board meeting and I brought up the situation of the sheriff’s salary as I have been the lowest paid sheriff in the State of Iowa for many, many years,” said Wayne County Sheriff Keith Davis. “I tried to compare myself to Ringgold County. The Ringgold County Sheriff who is a first year sheriff is paid 10 percent more than me. I think we are pretty comparable in size and I would like to think I am as good as the Ringgold County Sheriff.”

“With that, we have been waiting all these years for the comp. board to give a good recommendation and this year the recommendation across the board was seven percent,” Davis added. “The county auditor, treasurer and recorder all rank low statewide in terms of salary.”

“I was in education for 27 years, so I know what it’s like to be paid by taxpayers,” said Supervisor Don Seams. “I also look at it as a taxpayer and looked at my taxes and my taxes have gone up an average of 77 percent in five years. Taxpayers are going to take a hit whether we raise it five percent or seven percent.”

“I’d like to see us keep our taxes down as much as possible, but our workers still deserve a pay raise,” Seams said. “I see it both ways.”

“We need to start working to be a little more aggressive, but we can’t do it all at once,” Swearingin.

In other county business, the board approved a tax abatement for a property in the City of Seymour in the amount of $80.

County Engineer Randy Zerr reminded the board of the upcoming bridge closure north of Promise City on Highway S56 beginning Feb. 3. The plans include the bridge being closed for 85-working days, dependent on weather conditions.

Tony Miller Director with the Southeast Iowa Response Group was present along with Emergency Management Director Bill Byrns to show photos and give a description of newest items added to their resources.

The next regular Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 10 at 9 a.m.

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