West Jefferson village employees will get a 3 percent pay raise in 2012.
Council cast a 6-1 vote Dec. 19 to establish the pay scale for village employees before taking up the budget. Casting the loneno vote was Cory Coburn who questioned the need for a second lieutenant in the police department, as well as how the building inspector is paid.
Dennis Gates was a lieutenant before he was appointed as police chief six years ago, Coburn said.
“We got along six years without an additional lieutenant. I think it is a waste of money to have two lieutenants, he said.
Coburn said he was not satisfied with the explanation he received as to why a second lieutenant is needed.
“I could have gotten something better from a 5-year-old, he said about the explanation.
For the building inspector, Coburn favored an hourly rather than salary pay system, as well as a second pay tier effective upon the inspector obtaining certification.
When it came to the villages 2012 budget, Coburn again cast the loneno vote. The village has budgeted $6,787,962 for expenditures in 2012, $265,125 more than was appropriated for 2011.
Part of that increase, council President Ron Garver noted, is due to 2012 having an extra pay period.
The department with the largest slice of the budget pie is the police department, for which the village set aside $1,146,572, an increase of $82,936 over last year. Much of the difference is due to increases in pay and fuel costs.
While the police departments budget went up, cuts were made in other departments, said Garver and Jack Herrel, the villages finance director.
“A lot of time and a lot of work went into this budget, Herrel said.
Garver added that councils finance committee met four times in the past month to consider the budget. He said he hopes the way the money was allocated will ease the need for supplemental appropriations at the end of next year. This year, the village had to appropriate an additional $20,000 for taxes due to Jefferson Local Schools and $25,000 to the sanitation department because the money set aside for these items in the original 2011 budget was not sufficient.
Regarding the budget and the villages financial health, Mayor Darlene Steele said West Jeffersonis better off than some our size, but were still careful with our funds.