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Cities, county to give raises to employees

Posted: December 18, 2011 - 1:10am  |  Updated: December 18, 2011 - 5:21am

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Grovetown city council members approved Monday a 2012 budget that includes merit pay increases of as much as 2.5 percent for city workers, joining Columbia County in granting raises for government employees.

Harlem might soon follow when its council meets Monday. City Administrator Jason Rizner said the 2012 budget up for approval Monday includes funds for 2.5 percent raises for city workers.

County commissioners on Dec. 6, after a raucous meeting that rambled for two hours over residents’ concerns about a rental housing project, quietly approved merit raises of as much as 4 percent for county employees.

County Administrator Scott Johnson said the raises are at the discretion of department heads, and could range from no raise to a maxiumum of 4 percent.

The total amount budget for raises is $455,209, Johnson said.

Those raises are for noncontracted employees. Possible raises for employees under contract, such as department heads and the administrator, will be discussed at a later date, said Commissioner Ron Thigpen, chairman of the county’s Management and Financial Services Committee.

Columbia County in July approved a fiscal year budget of nearly $55 million, but the two cities’ budgets follow the calendar year.

Grovetown’s budget, approved Monday, is for nearly $5.4 million. The additional expense for raises would be as much as $75,287, said Mayor George James, with the money coming from an existing surplus.

“The revenue that’s already there would cover a 2.5 percent raise,” James said. “If we go any higher, we’d have to go into our reserves.”

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