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Department raises approved, discussed by Commission

Raises created quite the discussion during the Chilton County Commission meeting on Nov. 27.

Tax Collector Tim Little requested raises for several employees in various departments that he oversees.

All of the pay increases were within Little’s budget and are effective for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The pay increases were approved, but not without some hesitation and questions by some of the commissioners.

Commissioner Allen Caton stated it is hard for him to look across the room at the sheriff, while knowing that his department risks their lives, but are not getting a raise.

Commission chairman Joseph Parnell acknowledged the raises are high and asked Little if the increases are something that he believes are a necessary step.

Little said he understood the commission’s questioning but backed up his request by stating that the raises were based off of the salaries of those positions in competing and surrounding counties, not including Shelby County.

A pay increase of $1 to $2 per hour for employees in the motor vehicle department was passed on a 4-2 vote with Caton and Commissioner Joe Headley opposing, while commissioner Greg Moore was absent from the meeting.

The following pay increases were approved unanimously:

  • A 3-percent raise was approved for appraisal department employees Brad Carter, Melanie Prather, Rebekah Headley, Rita Jordan, Tracey Ramsey and Ginger Moates.
  • A $2,500 raise was approved for appraisal department employees Kyle Dennis and Michele Headley.
  • Tina McKenzie’s job title was changed from property tax clerk to collections chief clerk, which included a salary increase of $17.58 per hour.
  • A 3-percent increase was approved for Donna Willis in the Tax Collector’s Office.
  • An increase of $2 per hour was approved for motor vehicle department employees Marie Smitherman, Kim Gillespie and Angela Fulmer, while all other employees in the motor vehicle department will see an increase of $1 per hour.

Prior to Sheriff John Shearon asking his department requests, he stood up for his employees and said they could use some raises as well.

According to Commissioner Steve Langston, there is something that just seems fundamentally wrong with the current system in place.

“We’ve kicked this can as far as it can go,” Parnell said. “We’ve got to find some revenue.”

In other news from the meeting:

  • The Commission approved a request from Little to transfer $13,000 from the assessment budget to the motor vehicle department budget.
  • The Commission approved the search for a temporary hire in the motor vehicle department.
  • Connie Bainbridge with Central Alabama Electric Cooperative updated the Commission about the goal to provide broadband internet service to the rural areas of Chilton County. She called it a “game changer” and compared it to when electricity was introduced to rural homes roughly 80 years ago.
  • Richard Holler asked the Commission if there were any plans to smooth out County Road 373, because it is getting almost “impassable” due to the ruts created after a strong rain. County Engineer Tony Wearren said that they are working on it, but there are many roads with similar problems. “It’s a challenge,” Commissioner Matt Mims said.
  • 911 Director Dan Wright informed the Commission that the department is in the process of getting a new facility and that the bids have been let.
  • It was approved for the Sheriff’s Office to hire Aaron Hall and Stephani Crumley as part time jail employees, while John Scott and Destiny Gentry were hired as part-time corrections officers.
  • A resolution was approved to authorize the execution and delivery of certain financing documents related to a bond financing for the Alabama Department of Human Resources’ new building in Chilton County.
  • The letting has been done with the paving project County Road 51. The county will pay for 20 percent of the total cost, which is $453,035.95.
  • The Commission approved the request from Michelle McRay with Michelle’s Boutique had her tax penalties waived.
  • A $52,000 loan was approved for a new EMA vehicle. It was purchased off the state bid list and half of it will be reimbursed by the state.
  • The commission approved the minutes from the Nov. 13 meeting.
  • The commission approved to pay its bills.