BOWLING GREEN — Nonunion Wood County government employees will ring in the new year with a 1.5 percent raise.
Wood County commissioners on Thursday approved the raises as part of 2013 appropriations that included a $37.3 million general fund. The county’s general operating expenses, which were budgeted at just $200,000 more than last year, are down from a high of $40.4 million in 2009.
Commissioners said sales tax receipts are up more than 5 percent over last year, although investment income remains low.
“We’re in a better position to more accurately predict what our revenue is going to be this year, and that allowed us to increase the amount of pay increases,” Commissioner Joel Kuhlman said.
County employees received a 1 percent raise in 2012. Wages were frozen in 2011, although commissioners gave workers a 1 percent lump sum payment in December, 2010.
The spending plan includes an estimate of $750,000 from casino tax revenue.
Commissioner Jim Carter said casino revenue is “very erratic, so consequently we can’t really count on them for any extended period of time, but we know there is a certainty of some revenue from them.”
County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said the 2013 raises will cost the county $360,592.
The board gave credit to elected officials, department heads, and employees for being efficient.
“Compared to many other counties who had significant layoffs, significant budget cuts, and reductions in services to their citizens, the fact that we as a team functioned and continued to provide stellar service to our citizens I think says a lot about the employees and the elected officials,” Commissioner Tim Brown said. “They really hunkered down during the deep part of this recession.”
The meeting was the final one for Mr. Brown, who was elected in November to the state legislature.