Raises for Fayette employees will require tax increase

Credit: Courtesy Fayette County

Credit: Courtesy Fayette County

Fayette County is raising salaries for all employees, especially public safety officers, but will need to raise property taxes next year to do it. The measure, approved 5-0 at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, goes into effect Jan. 1. It will boost the entire pay scale by 10.45% and raise public safety salaries another 8.55%.

County Administrator Steve Rapson cited the current employment market as the reason for the change, saying that more competitive compensation is necessary to recruit and retain employees, particularly in the sheriff and fire departments. The starting salary for a deputy sheriff will change from $42,117 to $50,117.

Rapson said the county will pay for the first six months of the new scale by using undesignated fund balances from the FY2022 budget. But for FY2023, the county plans to enact a 9.3% property tax increase for the general fund and EMS fund. Fayette has rolled back its millage rate in recent years to minimize such increases.

Chairman Lee Hearn said he believes residents will understand and support the salary plan, which he called “a good step in making the team better.”