Centre County Commissioners approved a plan to raise salaries of county government employees.
Douglas Braff spoke with one of the commissioners about this and he’s live with the details
As the cost of living rises in Centre County and other parts of the country Commissioner Michael Pipe tells me he hopes this will make county government jobs more competitive.
“So, Centre County government over the last year has embarked on a salary and compensation study. And it’s the first one we’ve done in nearly a quarter century. And what it allows us to do is to look at each individual position we have at, at the county benchmark off of our competitors, other folks in other counties, and really allows us to see where we have situated ourselves from a competitive nature and also a compensation nature.”
“Truly the, the realization is that we needed to do this long ago.”
Centre County Commissioners and the salary board finally got to approve the plan.
“We are raising all of our salaries to a minimum of $15 an hour. So all of the jobs throughout center county government salaries are, uh, $15. Now that’s also in addition to a pension that we have for folks, uh, defined contribution. So no matter how the stock market does, they’re guaranteed that pension payment, in addition to healthcare benefits that are competitive amongst all of our — any employer here in the area.”
Additionally, he says every employee will see an increase of one-thousand dollars this year. The plan will also see the “reclassing” of certain positions within departments to give them what he says are more adequate titles.
“The majority of the costs will be offset by the American rescue plan. There also is some money that specific departments, especially human services will be able to utilize to offset some of the increases.”
I then reminded him the American Rescue Plan and the 30 million dollars in funding are not permanent.
“You’re right. Absolutely. So, we have until 2024 to say where the American rescue plan funds are going to go. We have until 2026 to actually spend them now. The law could change the with the CARES Act that was done in 2020.”
But where else to get this funding?
“So, not just the actual money we’ve received from the federal government can be used to offset these costs, but also potential long-term treasury bonds or CDs. We see a lot of growth within the commercial space here in Centre County. Not seeing it as much in the housing space or residential space, but if those two, if development continues to occur in center county, the property taxes that we receive from those will help to offset any salary, healthcare, et cetera, costs that will be in the future.”
I also asked pipe if rising inflation played a role in launching the study. And he says the lower inflation of April last year did not play a role but that current rates make it more important now.