No COLA for Davis County employees

Oct 25 2010 - 11:30pm

FARMINGTON -- Davis County employees will forgo a cost-of-living increase in the tentative 2011 county budget, scheduled for approval today by commissioners.

It would become the second year in row for Davis County employees to not receive a cost-of-living allowance.

But the pay-rate decision came about, in part, because the Davis County Employees Association did not ask for an across-the-board pay increase in the recent county budget hearings.

"We hadn't anticipated a COLA this year," said DCEA President Brian McKenzie, whose group represents about 550 county employees.

McKenzie said their group's leadership uses the regional Consumer Price Index, pay comparisons and the county fiscal condition as elements in their yearly budget request.

"We didn't see any cuts in pay last year when many jurisdictions were seeing a lot of layoffs and cuts," he said.

McKenzie said a low CPI and the post-recession economy contributed to their decision to ask for only maintaining benefits.

During last year's budget hearings, the DCEA asked the commission to base its pay-rate decision on the CPI, and were denied the raise.

"When things do turn around, then we are going to be able to go in and justify raises," he said.

In 2009, the county employees received a 3.5 percent increase.

Davis County began nine days of budget hearings Oct. 4, and county leaders made it clear they were preparing for the possibility of a flat county budget in 2011.

"We're not going to do any COLAs," said John Petroff, the Davis County Commission chairman.

Davis County does use a merit pay system and will continue to offer it, Petroff added.

Commissioners point out that health care costs continue to increase.

"We are trying to be very conservative ... to be very frugal," he said.

After the tentative operating budget is presented and approved, a detailed version of the $94.6 million budget will be offered to the public Nov. 25.

The county's final budget hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7.

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