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Published: Wednesday, 1/8/2003

Lower raises tied to tight budget

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Most of the 350 workers employed by Fulton County received a 2 percent raise last week, but for some with the county's costliest family health insurance, it will barely cover their rate increases.

The raise is lower than the 3 percent annual increase that had become the norm for county employees in recent years. It is also a smaller percentage increase than Wauseon, Metamora, and Archbold employees get.

Jack Graf, president of the commission, said commissioners fear a tighter budget in months to come.

The county's elected office holders get a 1.3 percent raise over last year's salary. Their increase was set by the state legislature and is related to the consumer price index.

The county's highest paid elected officials are Common Pleas Judge James Barber and Probate Judge Michael Bumb who will each receive $107,600 with the increase. However, more than $100,000 of their salaries is paid by the state.

The highest paid official whose salary comes primarily from county funds is Prosecutor William Swigart, who will receive $92,315 with the raise.

County commissioners in the fall unanimously approved a $180,000 addition to their $9 million annual payroll. That is enough to give all 200 full-time employees and 150 part-time employees a 2 percent raise. But how the money is divided was left up to supervisors, so some employees might get higher or lower increases.

The highest paid employee is county administrator Vond Hall, whose salary is $78,800 with the 2 percent increase.

Insurance costs paid by employees with the costliest family plan increased 12 percent this year; the mid-priced plan is up 21 percent and the cheapest family plan increased 50 percent.

Single employees with the most expensive health plan will have a 3.4 percent increase. The mid-priced plan is up 2.1 percent and the cheapest plan stays the same.

The family plan increases were necessary in part to be fairer to single employees, Mr. Hall said. Last year single employees paid the same amount for the cheapest plan as employees who were covering a family.

Receiving some of the highest raises in the county are Wauseon's 55 employees who will get a 4 percent increase in accordance with the three-year package the city council approved in 2000.

“At that time it was very reasonable. From what I'm reading now it's high,” city finance director Jon Schamp said. This year's increase will cost the city $70,000 a year, Mr. Schamp said.

The highest paid employee, public service director Dennis Richardson, will receive $50,800 with the raise.

Here are the plans for wage increases for village employees in Fulton County:

  • Archbold workers will receive a 2.5 percent wage increase and full-time employees will receive 15 cents per hour on top of the percentage increase.

    This year's increase to 52 full-time and 105 seasonal employees will cost the village about $85,000 a year. The highest paid employee is village engineer Robert Seaman who will receive almost $72,000 this year.

  • Delta's 23 full-time employees will receive a 2 percent pay increase at an annual cost of $16,700 to the village. With the raise, village administrator Gary Baker, who has the highest salary, will receive $47,530.

  • Metamora's two full-time, three part-time employee, and one seasonal will receive 3 percent increases. Village clerk-treasurer Karin Sauerlender had not yet figured the cost of the increases. The highest paid employee is Rick Meiring, the village water superintendent, who will receive $16.48 an hour this year.

  • Fayette council approved 3.5 percent raises for its nine full-time, four part-time and eight seasonal employees last week. The cost of the raises to the village was not available this week.

  • Lyons council approved a 2.5 percent raise for its three employees. The cost of the raises to the village was not available this week.

  • Swanton council has not discussed raises for 35 employees, but is likely to do so this month, village administrator John Syx said.



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