Troup County budget to be affected by raises

Published 7:52 pm Thursday, May 18, 2017

By Alicia B. Hill

There will be some big changes to Troup County’s budget this year after the board of commissioners decided to follow the recommendations of a recent pay study.

The study said if county employees did not get raises, the county would continue to lose employees to other local governments with better pay. Some employees have already received notices regarding what their new pay could be, but officials warned that actual numbers could still fluctuate slightly between now and when the budget is signed on June 6.

“The total raises tallied up to $1.2 million for the whole county, but it is still in progress,” County Manager Tod Tentler said. “This is just another phase of it. What we do is we meet with the employees, show them what their recommended raise was from the firm that did the study, and then they have an opportunity to go back and re-look at their job description.”

Even with the significant raises, county employees may see an additional increase at some point in the future, as the commissioners decision for employee pay increases was chosen with some caution to budget fluctuations in mind.

“The 95 percent plan is funded, and the 100 percent plan could be funded if everything works out,” Tentler said.

One of those fluctuations will be the cost of performing certain jobs without the inmates from the work program and correctional institute that were both closed in order to fund the pay increase. The jail and a county level work program will still be in place, but with roughly 10 percent of the workers of the former program, adjustments will need to be made.

“Because of the correctional institute and the salary adjustments, it is really C before B then A, and you have to go back manually to put things back in order,” Finance Officer Buddy Cashwell said. “It has been a manual ordeal.”

Those adjustments have consisted of reconfiguring budgets for departments like roads and engineering, and the parks and recreation department, which both used inmate labor and will be affected by the correctional institute’s closure.

“We took out the corrections institute, but the sheriff’s office budget went up considerably and so did parks and rec because the inmate labor is not in there, so we have to pay for labor,” Cashwell said.

As the county looks for ways to fill the gap left by the work program, efforts are still being made to find jobs for the 73 county employees who worked for the correctional institute and work release program. According to Tentler, the county has found placements for nine of the 73 that were employed by the departments, and an additional 17 employees are expected to interview for other positions by the end of this week. The county is also connecting those employees with several career fairs prior to June 30 when the facility will shut down.

The state of Georgia is currently in the process of moving inmates out of the prison.

“We are gradually closing the prison down as the inmates move out, and it is going to be a transition,” Director Dexter Wells said. “We’ve already closed one (wing) and plan to close another this week, so as we do that we are going to shut the building down.”

All state prisoners are required to be out by the June 30 deadline.

The county plans to release a preliminary budget to the public on Monday. It should be available at and at libraries in the county. The public hearing for the budget and the vote on the budget are scheduled to take place during the Troup County Board of Commissioners regular meeting on June 6 at 9 a.m.