You are well aware that County employees are wondering about whether they will ever get a pay increase. I think most employees recognize the tough fiscal climate that makes pay increases impossible right now. But, considering how long it's likely going to be, are the budget-makers investigating a way to provide a reasonable pay increase to County staff in the foreseeable future? Or can we expect that we will only receive pay increases when property values improve, no matter how long that is? I recognize that it's costly, but many people are wondering if pay increases are just permanently off the table at this point because we simply don't have enough money?
Compensation is definitely the largest item in the county and schools budget. For the past two years, we have not been able to give employees salary adjustments because of budget constraints. This is especially challenging for employees with rising health care costs and other demands on their household budget. As we review the future revenue growth in county budgets we realize that compensation increases must be included. However, for example, basic compensation adjustments for county and schools employees total $108 million. With future defecits projected for the next few years, this will be on of the most difficult challenges that will need to be addressed. County employees are the backbone of our organization and without them, our high quality of service delivery would not be possible.