Moffat County’s elected officials discuss salary increase | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County’s elected officials discuss salary increase

Patrick Kelly

Moffat County Courthouse in Craig is where elected officials meet to discuss topics such as the salary increase bill passed by the Colorado Legislature this year.

— Moffat County commissioners are communicating with the county's other elected officials in an effort to determine how the salary increases passed by the Colorado Legislature will be applied in Moffat County.

The last time a pay raise for elected county officials was approved by the General Assembly was in 2007. Under this year's Senate Bill 15-288, a 30 percent wage hike is set in place for all county elected officials — but not until 2017 at the earliest.

Salary increases for elected officials in Colorado are set by the state legislature and cannot be changed mid-term.

Lila Herod, Moffat County clerk, said it is a tough topic to broach because it may come off as self-serving, but elected officials are employees and they deserve adequate compensation for their work. Herod is not eligible for re-election as clerk due to term limits and will not see a pay increase.

"I think they are being really proactive to start discussing it now," said Herod in reference to a meeting of Moffat County's elected officials Monday morning. "It isn't going to happen for two more years but they need to get ahead of that."

Under the new legislation, county commissioners' salaries would increase from $58,500 to $76,050 at most. Commissioners John Kinkaid and Chuck Grobe, if re-elected in 2016, would be the first to see the pay increase on Jan. 1, 2017.

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If the full 30 percent raise is applied, the sheriff's salary would go up from $76,000 to $98,800; the treasurer, clerk and assessor would see their salaries rise from $58,500 to $76,050; the coroner's salary would increase from $33,100 to $43,030; and the surveyor’s pay would move from $3,300 to $4,290.

Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe said right now the county commission’s task is to determine where all the elected officials stand on a salary increase, but without a raise in eight years, it is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed.

"General sentiment is to go with the bill that was presented because that's what's happening in all the counties around us," he said, adding that the salary increases won't affect the budget until 2017 with most of the adjustments taking place in 2019.

Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, who sponsored the bill in the House, said it gives counties control of what they can afford by providing a tiered selection of salary increases, with the lowest tier allowing salaries to stay the same.

On Sept. 15, Routt County commissioners agreed to accept pay raises for elected county officials under the new state laws.

SB 15-288 also establishes new wages for five state offices, giving the governor an annual salary of $90,000, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and treasure salaries of $68,500 and attorney general a salary of $80,000.

State lawmakers’ annual pay will rise from $30,000 to $42,000.

Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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