Carroll County Commissioners Propose 22.3% Pay Increase for Sheriff’s Office in Fiscal Year 2023 – Baltimore Sun
Carroll County commissioners on Tuesday released a proposed $708.4 million budget for fiscal year 2023, which includes a 22.3% increase in salaries, including pension and payroll expenses, for the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. That’s on top of a 14% increase for the sheriff’s office in fiscal year 2022.
County staff originally proposed a 4% pay increase for the sheriff’s office in fiscal year 2023, totaling $800,000. The commissioners added $2.9 million to that.
In the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, the commissioners “added a similar amount on top of the planned 4% increase and that brought (the sheriff’s office) a 14% change “said Ted Zaleski, director of budget and management for the county.
“It is [an] incredible demonstration of the commissioners’ commitment to funding our law enforcement,” Zaleski said during a meeting with the commissioners on Tuesday. “I don’t even know what words to use to say how important that was.”
The 2023 fiscal year begins July 1. According to documents prepared by the Department of Management and Budget, one of the main objectives of the 2023 budget is to address the backlog of compensation for Carroll County government employees. Just over $7 million has been set aside for a plan to address the county’s ability to retain and attract government personnel.
“For many positions we cannot compete with the private sector, but in recent years the number of positions where this is true has increased. As the private sector responds to its own workforce challenges, we are seeing pressure on more and more positions,” the proposed FY2023 budget document states. proposed budget are intended to alleviate these problems.”
Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees said his department presented a study to commissioners last year comparing law enforcement pay in Carroll County with other state agencies.
“We think a good target for attracting high-quality police assistants would be in the 50th percentile of these organizations,” he said. “That means if Howard County is the highest paid and Frederick County is fifth, Carroll should be in the middle of Howard and Frederick.”
A plan was created at this time to bring the salaries of law enforcement and correctional assistants up to the desired level. Two lump sums were awarded to the sheriff’s office by the commissioners: $2 million last year and $2.9 million this year.
Commissioner Chairman Ed Rothstein, a Republican from District 5, said ensuring Carroll has a safe and secure environment and that trust in the services provided by fire and EMS, as well as the sheriff’s office , is its priority.
“In order to recruit and retain the best individuals, we need to keep competitive compensation in place,” he said. “For years, Carroll has dealt with non-competitive pay and has become a solid training ground for the men and women in blue.”
For fiscal year 2023, public schools in Carroll County were to receive $6.4 million in the county budget, an increase of 3.13% from this year. The school system had requested $4 million in additional funding for fiscal year 2023, which would have brought the total to $10.4 million, but ultimately the commissioners decided to set aside half that amount, $2 million. dollars, bringing the total to $8.4 million for the county’s public schools.
When asked why the board made a significant commitment in this budget to raise law enforcement salaries, but only funded half of the school board’s request, Rothstein said the commissioners did not prioritize police over schools.
“Every priority given to us is important, but we have a responsibility to measure that importance and do our best,” he said. “Looking at other sources of funding, the schools receive state and federal funding that the sheriff’s office does not receive.”
At the request of DeWees, the Commissioners also agreed to increase funding for the construction of the Sheriff’s Office Headquarters Project from fiscal years 2025 and 2026 to fiscal years 2023 and 2024. This means operating budget impacts will occur earlier than expected.
According to concept plans, the two-story building will comprise 40,000 square feet of space and cost approximately $30.4 million.
In addition to funding for police and schools, commissioners approved requests from the Carroll County Public Library system, including $200,000 in ongoing funds for salary increases and $1.1 million in funds on time for technology upgrades. For Carroll Community College, they proposed $2.4 million for the construction of an artificial turf field, $500,000 for a 2% wage increase for employees and $200,000 for maintenance projects .
As the county develops its first combined fire and EMS department, commissioners have committed $4 million in ongoing funding to the fire administration, largely for the hiring of 234 EMS employees.
Zaleski noted that $4 million has been set aside in 2023 for the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund, for future expansion of the North Landfill.
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The fiscal year 2023 budget includes 13 funds, including $501.3 million in the general or operating fund and $121 million in the capital fund, which covers construction costs. The county’s proposed budget is now out for community comment and will go to a public hearing at 7 p.m. May 10 at the Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster.
Zaleski noted that the ultimate decisions on budgeting rest with the commissioners.
“If you want to argue for or against something in the budget, the way to go is to contact the commissioners because the policy decisions are up to them,” Zaleski said.
Final passage of Carroll County’s fiscal year 2023 budget is scheduled for May 24.