Clinton County commissioners plan to request no increase in county employee wages next year

By Gary Huffenberger -



News Journal file photo

WILMINGTON — Because county revenues in 2019 are expected to be flat compared to this year, department heads will be asked not to propose a 2019 salary increase for workers.

Clinton County commissioners held a budget workshop among themselves Monday as they look ahead to their face-to-face meetings with the heads of county government offices.

Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed, who often facilitates the commissioners’ annual budget talks, said he anticipates 2019 revenues to be something similar to this year’s $14.5 or $14.6 million range.

On Monday commissioners worked on the wording of a handout they plan to distribute Sept. 26 to department heads. The handout will include the commissioners’ expectations for the proposed 2019 departmental budgets to be submitted this fall by the heads of county offices.

Steed said in the past commissioners have, with regard to salary, requested that department heads propose a personnel or salary line that is “budget-neutral” or involves no increase.

“In the past, we’ve left a little wiggle room that’s caused us some issues,” Steed said.

As a result, commissioners said they would be more specific in their requests and expectations this year.

The Board of Commissioners plans to ask that the personnel lines in both the General Fund and the non-General Fund be presented at the same staffing levels, pay rates and hours in effect earlier this month on Sept. 1, according to Steed.

Meanwhile, commissioners also plan to ask that non-personnel expenses be presented at the amounts originally appropriated for 2018.

At the conclusion of last fall’s budget process, county government offices had cut non-personnel spending for their 2018 budgets. Also for their 2018 budgets, each department received 3 percent more in appropriations for its salary line than the year before.

At one juncture during the workshop discussion Monday, Steed said he would like for county government to have a zero percent increase on salaries and on non-personnel items from 2018 to 2019.

“Unfortunately right now we are in an environment where resources are pretty tight,” stated Steed.

There was some good news Monday on the financial front. The cost of medical insurance for county employees may go down 1 percent, announced Clinton County Administrator Mary Ann Haines Foland. Although the amount of the reduction is small, the really good news is that the premium price apparently will not increase for next year, she pointed out.

For this year, the county’s medical insurance costs went up about 4.6 percent compared to the prior year.

Clinton County is a member county of CEBCO (County Employee Benefits Consortium of Ohio), which the County Commissioners Association of Ohio developed in 2004 for Ohio counties in response to the needs for stability and cost containment in employee benefits, states the CEBCO website.

CEBCO is a member-owned, not-for-profit, self-insured purchasing pool.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Steed News Journal file photo Journal file photo

By Gary Huffenberger