Note: This is a copy of a Tuesday email from Anderson County Commissioner Myron Iwanski to the Budget Committee and commissioners.
Budget Committee and Commissioners:
I think we were all pleased that for the fourth year in a row our year-end fund balance increased over the previous year. We owe a big thank you to our county employees for helping making this happen.
Four years ago, our fund balance was heading down to less than $500,000, and our credit rating was being effected. Beginning four years ago, by being more cautious with how we spend fund balance money and with the help of all our elected officials and employees, we increased the fund balance to the current $4,290,000.
One of the many things we did to turn this around was not giving our employees a salary increase for several years—except to cover the annual increases in health insurance cost. County-wide office holders, meanwhile, were given state-mandated increases in salaries.
I propose using a small portion of this fund balance to provide a small lump sum payment to those county general fund employees that did not get a state-mandated salary increase.
I propose that $290,000 (which is the amount above the $4 million fund balance goal) be used for a one-time lump sum payment to employees in lieu of a salary increase. If we exclude part-time employees, new hires, and employees that received a state-mandated pay increase, there are about 450 general fund employees that would qualify for this lump sum payment, according to Human Resources.
If we were to split the $290,000 evenly among the 450 employees, each employee would receive a one-time payment of $640. Alternatively, we could give all of these employees a lump payment equal to about 2 percent of their salary.
I suggest that to qualify for this lump sum payment, employees;
- must be full time (i.e., able to qualify for heath insurance);
- must not be an elected official (County Commissioners would not qualify);
- must not have received a salary increase in the last year; and
- must have worked full time from January 1, 2014, to September 1, 2014.
I am sending this to the Budget Committee for them to consider at the October budget meeting. Having sent this to the Budget Committee for consideration, the full County Commission can also take this up at its October meeting, and consider any recommendations the Budget Committee may offer.
I believe that addressing this for our hard-working employees who have done without a salary increase for years should be our top priority. As such, I ask that Budget Committee and County Commission take up this request in October and before taking up any other proposals to use money out of the fund balance.
Myron Iwanski represents District 8, which includes the Emory Valley, Hendrix Creek, and Woodland precincts in Oak Ridge.