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County to give staff pay hikes in budget

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - In the $18 million budget for Bullitt County, there will be enough money set aside for employees to receive a 50-cent per hour wage increase.

That was the major change as Bullitt Fiscal Court voted 3-2 to adopt the 2011-12 budget with just a couple of days to spare.

The salary increases were the major sticking point the previous Friday night when a special meeting failed to produce a compromise on the budget.

On Tuesday, the only other change was to restore the position of assistant director. The Bullitt County Parks Board urged the staffing plan be restored to the original proposal of a maintenance man and the assistant director.

June Daugherty, executive director of the Bullitt County Family YMCA, which manages and operates the sports programs for the parks and recreation, commented that the goal of her organization was to see the county retain some of the savings and reinvest that money into the parks program.

But that was the extent of the comments during the short special meeting.

Magistrate Ruthie Ashbaugh said she was pleased that the county could find the 50 cent increase. There had also been discussions about no wage hikes and a 25-cent per hour increase.

Fellow magistrate Dan Kelty had said previously that he wanted to take care of the employees if the money was available. In making his vote to support the higher pay increases, Kelty felt confident that the money would be available

"We are only as good as our employees," said Kelty. "We get compliments about different departments all the time and we need to take care of them."

County Judge Melanie Roberts got to break the tie and said she was pleased to show her support for the employees.

"We'll be OK financially," said Roberts. 

Magistrate John Bradshaw, who voted in opposition, said the budget process has been his most challenging first-year hurdle to cross. He wants to do whatever was possible for the employees but Bradshaw said he is concerned about the county's financial future.

And magistrate Joe Laswell said at the previous meeting that he feared decreasing revenue from property taxes should make the court be very conservative in its spending.