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Committee votes to increase Grundy Sheriff's salary; full board approval still needed

Published: Monday, May 12, 2014 9:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 8:08 a.m. CDT

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MORRIS – The Grundy County sheriff’s position could receive a 1 percent raise each year for the next two years before staying static for the last two years of the upcoming four-year term.

The sheriff’s position is currently salaried at $105,897.

“If you could put a price tag on our current sheriff, if you ask me, he’s severely underpaid,” Grundy County finance committee chairman John Galloway said during Monday’s meeting. “Based on the responsibilities and the duties that the office holds, I think it’s underpaid.”

Galloway was one of four finance committee members who narrowly passed a vote, 4-3, during Monday’s meeting to raise the sheriff’s salary. Galloway, along with members Dick Joyce, John Almer and Ken Iverson, voted in favor of the raise while members Chris Balkema, David Welter and John Roth voted against it.

Another vote and more discussion was needed to determine how much the salary should be raised. Committee members were concerned about keeping a gap in pay between the sheriff and deputy positions.

“In my opinion, I think the sheriff should make more than the people that work under him,” Joyce told the committee.

Almer first recommended a 1 percent raise every year for four years, but the motion did not pass so a compromise to raise it by 1 percent the first two years before freezing it for the last two years in the term.

The pay increase will go before the full County Board on Tuesday evening. If passed by the full board, the salary will be set for the next four years before it can be revisited. If the board does not approve the increase, it will go back to committee for further deliberation.

Finance committee  recommends fee increases

Taxpayers could see a slight increase in fees charged by the Grundy County clerk and recorder office if the full board passes two ordinances authorizing the increases.

The finance committee positively recommended the ordinances, which were drafted as a direct result of a recent cost analysis study conducted by Bellwether Consulting. The study assessed the actual cost to the county associated with providing services in the sheriff’s department, clerk and recorder office and health department.

Proposed fee increases for the sheriff and health departments are expected to come before the finance committee next month.

The potential revenue increase from all three departments is projected to be $305,000 or more if the new, more expensive fees are made effective.

The fees are classified as “user fees” meaning they only apply to people using a particular service or making a particular transaction, county clerk and recorder Lana Phillips explained.

“The amount of revenue for the county is going to depend on how many transactions we do,” Philips said.

By state statute, some services including marriage license and civil union fees may be increased to $75 without further justification, but Grundy County residents won’t see fees go that high as Phillips opted not to charge the maximum amount.

Many members of the Finance Committee were happy with the survey and the potential for additional revenues. The ordinances passed unanimously.

“I was pleasantly surprised with the firm who did the study,” Balkema said. “This was a very calculated, data-driven approach.”

Potential increases to popular user fees

CLERK’S OFFICE

Certified copy of birth certificate - $4 increase to $24

Certified copy of death certificate – $3 increase to $20

Marriage license / civil union - $16 increase to $46

Certified copy of marriage license / civil union - $14 increase to $21

Tax redemption - $48 increase to $96

Certified business registration -- $31 increase to $39

RECORDER’S OFFICE

Land related recording – $30 increase to $73

Non land related recording – $31 increase to $64

Plats of subdivision / surveys - $6 increase to $87

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