3/7/19 - Atlanta - David Knight, representative of House District 130, speaks at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday, March 7, 2019. EMILY HANEY / emily.haney@ajc.com
Photo: Emily Haney/emily.haney@ajc.com
Photo: Emily Haney/emily.haney@ajc.com

Georgia Legislature gives many county officials a 5% raise

Georgia's sheriffs, tax commissioners, superior court clerks and probate court judges are getting a 5% raise of their base salaries.

The Georgia General Assembly approved Senate Bill 171 on Tuesday, which calls for county governments to fund the pay increases for these elected officials.

The legislation sets salary ranges from $35,576 for officials in counties with less than 6,000 residents to $131,099 for officials in counties with over 500,000 residents. Many officials also receive local supplements on top of their state-mandated base salaries.

These officials last received a raise in their base pay in 2006, but their salaries did rise 14% during that time because of cost of living adjustments, said Todd Edwards of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, which opposed the legislation.

SB 171 incorporates the cost of living adjustments into base pay figures, then adds the 5% increase to that.

“All of this is from county funds,” Edwards said. “They're telling us what to do with county money.”

It's unclear how much money the legislation will cost taxpayers statewide because pay rates are set by complicated formulas that vary from county to county. 

Some counties already pay their elected officials more than the minimums set in state law, and they won't see a salary increase from SB 171. Those counties include Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett.

“These constitutional officers have not had a raise in their base salary in 13 years,” said state Rep. David Knight, a Republican from Griffin who supported the bill. “When you look at it on a per county basis, it's not much money.”

The county officials will first receive a 2% raise next fiscal year along with state employees, according to separate legislation approved by the General Assembly. They won't see the remaining 3% of their raises until Jan. 1, 2021, according SB 171.

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