Board votes on raises, reviews budget

After a decade-long hold on raises for some, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors is slowly letting the money from increased tax revenues trickle down to department heads and elected officials.

At its regular board meeting June 5, the board reviewed the base salaries of three positions. The first was the district attorney’s base salary, which has to be changed through an ordinance process because the position is an elected one. Though the board decided to increase the base wage by $5,000 at a previous meeting in May, the ordinance process requires a sequence of time before the increase can be enacted.

Two non-elected department heads have updated job descriptions, and a 5 percent increase to their base salary after the board-approved amendments to the two positions. The Environmental Health Director and the Planning Director both saw increases to their wages.

Not all board members agreed on the changes. District 5 Supervisor Jeff Engel voted no on all changes to the job descriptions and to the wage increases. Engel has been consistent in his “nay” votes when it comes to raises or contract increases for county employees, citing budgetary concerns as his reasons against the raises.

New director of Public Health

Andrew Woodruff, the former acting Public Health Director, was officially hired by the board as the county’s Public Health Director. Woodruff has been in the position since July of 2017 and has helped facilitate the fight against the county’s opioid epidemic.

“Thank you so much,” said Woodruff at the meeting after the announcement of his employment. “It is an honor.”

County works on budget

Susan Scarlett, the county’s budget consultant, presented the budget projections for the upcoming fiscal year. She said that major general fund revenues, like property tax, have been increasing over the past few years. With the increase in revenue also comes an increase in expenses. While revenue has increased by 10 percent over the past 5 years, expenses have increased by 26 percent.

A large portion of the expense increase is due to salaries and benefits. However, Scarlett said the county is also suffering from a number of unfilled positions. She stated that there are 16 unfilled positions within three departments alone. The unfilled positions positively affect the final budget, but negatively affects the departments and the services the county can offer.

The board also worked on the preliminary budget for the county administrator position. The board hashed through the budget for the former CAO, removing a car allowance and adding funds from the county’s Risk Management program.

The budget discussions will continue until the end of the month, when the board has to approve the final numbers.