Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year is creating confusion, but could result in raises for the county’s lower paid employees.
“We are a little bit confused, because I think we have three or four budgets for Animal Control,” said Commissioner Terry Bell, during a county Budget and Finance Committee meeting.
The differing budgets stem from Commissioner Blaine Wilcher submitting two proposed budgets to the county that he generated and submitted in opposition to the one generated by facility director Kim Pettrey. When the budgets were considered by the county Health and Welfare Committee earlier this month, Wilcher made a successful motion that his budget be approved and sent to the Budget and Finance Committee for consideration.
Wilcher’s approved budget included an 83-cent raise for the two part-time employees within the department without raising the proposed budget from what was given last year, that amount being $103,479. He was able to do that by moving $3,300 from different line items and increasing those two salaries by $1,650 each. No raise was given to the director.
Pettrey’s rejected budget asked for an additional $10,151 from what was given the previous year. The additional funds would be used to take Brandi Bouldin from a part-time employee to full time. Pettrey informed the committee a second full-time employee is needed and Bouldin is willing.
While Pettrey expressed concern for one of Wilcher’s changes, specifically the one that removed $945 in animal food and reducing it from $5,500 to $4,550, Wilcher expressed his opinion that Pettrey’s budget would not pass because it requested a full-time employee and an increase in the budget.
According to county records, the two Animal Control part-time employees make $9.50 an hour. The county has eight employees who make $8.50 an hour or less, and 32 employees who make $10 an hour or less.
Budget and Finance Committee members expressed a desire to review all the county’s lower paid employees prior to making a decision.
“What do we do with the other $8.50 an hour employees?” asked Bell. “I know you say they are doing a good job, but those employees will say they are doing a good job and they are. That’s the situation we are going to get into when you raise them by 83 cents above everyone else.”
Commissioner Gary Prater expressed a desire not to single these two employees out for raises, to which Bell agreed.
Committee members voted to approve the Animal Control budget without the raises until a salary review can be done of all lower paid county employees. If the assessment ends without a raise for the two Animal Control employees, the $3,300 will be placed back into the department’s budget.