Winneshiek County elected officials will receive 5-percent salary increases under the 2015 fiscal budget approved by the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors Monday.

The Board held a hearing on the budget Monday afternoon; there were no comments from the public. The tax rate for rural residents will remain the same as last year at $8.50 per $1,000 of taxable value, and the rate for residents of incorporated areas will decrease 14 cents to $6.41 per $1,000.

Union employees will be receiving a 2.5-percent increase in wages, and non-union, non-elected employees will receive 3-percent raises.

The supervisors also approved increasing the monthly health insurance premium contribution per employee from $655 to $680.

Elected officials

The Winneshiek County Compensation Board met in December and recommended 6-percent raises for the county’s elected officials.

During their meeting, members were addressed by Paul Greufe, of PJ Greufe and Associates LLC, Davenport, who was commissioned by the county to perform a job classification compensation study. Greufe, a human resources consultant, said Winneshiek County is significantly below state average for compensation of similar positions in the state in counties of comparable population.

County supervisors were most significantly underpaid by 17 percent, Greufe said. The remaining elected officials were underpaid from 10.5 percent to 14 percent below state averages.

“The Compensation Board noted additional considerations including that compensation increases for elected officials had been kept at a low rate with a recession ... the Board also noted that the elected officials had served meritoriously

and well,” Compensation Board Chairman Jim Burns wrote in a letter he sent following the meeting to the Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors have the authority to approve the raises as recommended, or reduce them all by the same percentage. On Monday, supervisors unanimously voted to reduce the salary increases from 6 to 5 percent.

The county officials’ current salaries, along with their salary after the 5 percent raises are: auditor, $49,993, $52,493; county attorney, $59,436, $62,408; sheriff, $65,475, $68,749; treasurer, $50,381, $52,900; recorder, $49,327, $51,793; supervisor, $28,099, $29,504; and board of supervisors chairman, $28,813, $30,261.

Valuations up

During Monday’s budget hearing, Board Chairman John Logsdon noted the county’s tax asking has gone up, but because of increased property valuations, the tax rate has not. The county’s property tax valuation for fiscal 2013-2014 is $1,028,801,943. The fiscal 2015 budget is based on total valuations of $1,104,860,696, an increase of 7.4 percent.

Supervisors Dean Thompson gave a PowerPoint presentation on the county’s budget. He noted 26 percent of a resident’s property tax bill is collected by the county for services including secondary roads, law enforcement and the county attorney’s office, county conservation, courthouse offices and function, mental health, developmental disabilities and public health, and recycling.

Thompson said it’s important to remember the local option sales tax (LOST) revenue reduces the rural service levy – the county allocates 100 percent of the LOST funding to the road fund. LOST revenue for fiscal 2013-2014 is projected at $1,363,500 – an increase of $29,037 from the previous year.