Claremore Daily Progress

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September 25, 2013

County to use sales tax to fund employee pay raises


Rogers County Commissioners will decide Monday if employee pay raises should be awarded from excess sales tax funding.
“I would love to see the people that work for this county get some kind of raise,” Commissioner Kirt Thacker said. 
Thacker said his goal has been to cut spending and then provide raises to the employees.
Thacker’s proposal is to increase salaries by about $200 per month to be paid from excess courthouse bond sales tax collections and use tax funding.
Commissioner Mike Helm first brought the idea forward last week, although it gained no support at the time.
Commissioner Dan DeLozier opposed the measure and tried to keep the discussion on the feasibility of maintaining the current budget without adding new expenses.
Commissioners cut about $700,000 in road funding to balance this year’s budget.
“Next year we will have to turn around and give up more road tax to make this work,” DeLozier said. “I warned a million dollar shortfall and we had it. You don’t have my vote.”
“I would say this is the toughest budget we have had in awhile, but we still got there because everybody was working together,” Thacker said. “I don’t give a damn what the newspaper says, that we are trying to drum up some support for some investigation. This is about the people that work here…”
“Where are we going to come up with money, if insurance goes up, find another account and bleed those dry,” DeLozier said.
“The greatest asset we have are the people that work in Rogers County,” Thacker said.
“I agree.. but where are we going to come up with the money next year,” DeLozier said. 
The raises could come at the expense of the Rogers County Industrial Development Authority as the excess sales tax currently is spent to fund the organization.

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