Payne County

Mark A. Moore for the News Press 

The members of the Payne County Budget Board have approved pay raises for all county employees, including themselves. The budget board, a body comprised of elected county officials that makes policy and budgetary decisions for Payne County, approved the action Monday during its monthly meeting.

Steven Cundiff, CPA for the county, presented an update of the county budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year. The budget board had approved a tentative budget in June, based upon estimates at that time.

The revised budget reflects an increase of approximately $507,000 in budgeted income from the earlier estimate, resulting in a total budget for the county general fund of $19.6 million.

The increase from the June estimate is based on higher ad valorem tax or property tax revenue and a slightly higher carryover amount. Those increases offset a decrease in projected revenue from miscellaneous fees.

Cundiff said the increase in ad valorem taxes was based on an increase of $67 million in the tax base of personal property, real estate property and public service property.

The budget has a permanent reserve fund of $4.3 million that is not available for expenditures.

Cundiff also presented data showing the carryover amount as a percentage of the total budget for the past 18 years. The current year percentage of 29% exceeded the average of 21%, showing the county was in “good shape as far as accounting finances are concerned, as of today,” Cundiff said.

The approved budget included an increase of $6,500 for the Payne County Election Board.

Dondee Klein, Election Board Secretary, said that the request for increased funding for her office was “for additional help for this unprecedented election we seem to be having.”

After the presentation of financial statements by Cundiff, County Clerk Glenna Craig said the board could consider a mid-year salary increase for elected officials of approximately $300 per month for elected officials based upon a statutory formula.

Craig reminded the board that last year the elected officials had taken a $200 per month pay cut due to the lower assessments for the last fiscal year.

The budget board unanimously voted to raise the salary of elected county officials to $5,784.97 per month, effective Jan. 1, for an annual salary of $69,419.64.

The salaries of first deputies and 14 employees in the Sheriff’s department will also increase with the voted pay raise.

The board then considered pay raises for other county employees. Craig cautioned the board that once a pay raise was approved, it would have to be funded in future fiscal years.

“I don’t necessarily want to vote yes for a raise for myself and not for a raise for my employees,” Court Clerk Lori Allen said.

The budget board unanimously voted in favor of a three percent raise for the remaining county employees effective Nov. 1.

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