New Castle News

December 19, 2012

Pay hike for county elected officials cut

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Lawrence County elected officials will receive a smaller cost of living increase next year than they thought they were getting.

Their raises, dictated by the Consumer Price Index, will amount to 1.8 percent instead of the 3 percent they had anticipated when they introduced the 2013 county budget, explained James Gagliano, county administrator.

The raise was estimated for the budget until the Consumer Price Index figure became available Dec. 15, Gagliano said, but that was after the spending plan was introduced.

The difference constitutes a reduction of about $12,000 in the budget from what originally was proposed, commissioner chairman Dan Vogler pointed out.

The commissioners adopted the $90,910,545 budget yesterday.

Elected officials this year had received 3.6 percent increases.

Next year’s budget still includes 3 percent raises for all other courthouse employees, both union and non-union.

The property tax for 2013 will remain the same at 6.263 mills. It includes 5.89 mills for general purposes, 0.3645 mills for debt service and 0.11 mill for the New Castle Federated Library System.

The budget also includes a contribution of about $1.5 million to the county’s pension fund. That is about $300,000 more than this year’s contribution.

The county has to contribute to the fund as long as existing liabilities exceed the fund’s assets.

Vogler pointed out that the amount the county puts into the fund is based upon the recommendation of it actuary.

The commissioners also approved the borrowing of $2.95 million in a tax anticipation note to provide the county funds to pay bills until 2013 tax money is received. The loan approved is with ESB Bank at an interest rate of 1.25 percent.

The county had received four bank proposals for the loan, and three of those were at 1.25 percent interest, Vogler said. ESB Bank was chosen because it did not propose to charge the county any additional fees or early payment penalties, he said.

The county last year borrowed $3.3 million at 1 percent interest.