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Presque Isle County grants raises in tight budget

ROGERS CITY — The Presque Isle County Board of Commissioners on Friday adopted a $5.9 million budget that includes raises for some administrators and non-union employees.

Among the raises was a $1,200 bump for the county clerk to bring her annual salary to $49,200, a raise of $1,800 for the undersheriff to push his county earnings to $56,000, an $1,800 hike for the Emergency Services coordinator to push annual $28,800, and a $1-an-hour raise for the equalization director, who now makes $23.25. The maintenance supervisor will see his hourly compensation climb by $1 to $19 an hour for the new fiscal year.

Commissioner Carl Altman said the county decided to issue the raises earlier than normal because the board has a clearer picture of finances when the budget is fresh.

Typically, raises are granted in about December, when often revenues and expenses are more clouded. To make sure the county has the best employees possible and to reward those who have provided quality service, rate increases are proper, even if finances are tight, Altman said.

“It is important to have competitive salaries to attract talent,” he said. “It also awards those who did outstanding work every day, and especially during the pandemic. It is important that we take care of our employees and staff.”

Commissioner Nancy Schutes agreed with Altman. She said the county is fortunate to have high-quality staff and needs to be sure that stays intact into the future.

“If we fail to pay these people, we are never going to find replacements that are as qualified, dedicated, and caring as the ones we have now,” Shutes said. “We have some amazing people working for the county.”

The county should add a bit to its cash savings by the end of the year.

The budget includes revenues of $5,920,878 in revenue and $5,907,420 in expenses.

Commissioner Mike Darga said he is proud of the work staff did in fine-tuning the budget, especially since much of the work needed to be done under the unusual circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that some of the higher expenses are earmarked for capital improvement projects, which is sorely needed.

“This year, with the COVID thing, it couldn’t have been easy at all,” Darga said. “I want to let the public know that we are going to be taking care of some of these building issues we have, whether that is the courthouse or the jail. That is a lot of the budget. It’s for repairs and replacements and, granted, it’s not going to be easy, but we have to take care of what we have.”

The county’s fiscal year begins July 1.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.

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