By Jim Magdefrau
VINTON – The Benton County Board of Supervisors went with the recommendation of the compensation board in setting salaries for elected officials for 2021-22, at their meeting Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the service center in Vinton.
The compensation board recommended an increase of 3 percent at their meeting held the previous week.
Supervisor Chairman Tracy Seeman and Auditor Hayley Rippel calculated the increase in salaries for all employees would come to $142,000.
The board debated going with the 3 percent increase. The county’s union employees expected increases of 2.85 and 2.75 percent.
Supervisor Gary Bierschenk observed about increases, “The worst part of it is that if we don’t keep up, down the road, we’re already behind. That’s the biggest problem that I see.”
Supervisor Richard Primmer agreed that if the unions are getting wage increases, the rest of the employees have to keep up.
Bierschenk said Benton County is at the top end for compensation when compared to other counties. Benton County Attorney David Thompson observed this depends on which positions they are looking at.
The recommendation was approved, 3-0. All non-elected employees will also get a 3 percent increase, after debate on singling out employees for higher increases. “I’m not going to go through and cherry pick that this one is doing better than that one,” Primmer stressed as he emphasized a 3 percent increase straight across. This was also approved, 3-0.
A land use hearing was set for Tuesday, Feb. 16, 9:15 a.m., for Robert and Karen Walsh for land in Section 25, Taylor Township.
Budgets for next year were discussed for sanitarian/land use office, Department of Human Services, MM/DD Rural Access Center and Relief, sheriff, attorney, transportation, maintenance, IT/GIS, conservation and auditor.
The board approved the hiring of Matthew Even for environmental health and land use technician. He will begin March 1. The salary is $70,000. He has master’s degree in the field and five years of experience, according to land use administrator/sanitarian Marc Greenlee.
A farm exemption was approved for Daniel and Monica Friedman for land in Section 17, Iowa Township. They plan to build a new home.
The board discussed representation on the solid waste commission.
The board signed a Wellness Agreement with the Iowa State Association of Counties.