HOLLIDAYSBURG - Most nonunion Blair County employees will receive a 1.7 percent raise in 2013, as built into the proposed budget that will be balanced with a real estate tax increase of 3.5 mills.
Commissioners are scheduled to vote today on the 2013 budget proposal introduced in November, which takes the general fund real estate levy from 23.995 to 27.495 mills.
The increase is expected to add between $40 and $58 for an owner with a property valued at $100,000, Chief Tax Assessor Michael Baldner said.
During Monday's salary board meeting, commissioners and Controller Richard J. Peo approved the raise for an estimated 150 nonunion employees, which includes first deputies, supervisors, confidential secretaries and non-elected office managers.
The salary board excluded two employees from the raise. Both were judged to be at the top of the salary schedule, based on prior percentage raises allowing their salaries to increase more than others, Commissioner Diane Meling said.
In 2011 and 2012, the county awarded 3 percent raises to nonunion employees, after an across-the-board raise of $908 per nonunion employee in 2010. The 2009 raise for nonunion employees was also 3 percent.
The 1.7 percent raise is the same cost-of-living increase awarded to Social Security recipients for 2013, based on an annual inflation rate calculated through Sept. 30.
Commissioner Chairman Terry Tomassetti proposed the 1.7 percent increase after the tentative budget was introduced in November with 3 percent raises. Figures were adjusted after the county learned it needed to remove and segregate Marcellus Shale fee revenue from the general fund.
The salary board also approved $1,800 raises for public defender's office manager Cindy Holsinger and department investigator Kelly Moyer; a $1,500 raise for purchasing agent Deb Wyland, a $2,500 raise for Records Management Office Director Beverly Cunningham and a $1,000 raise for Mental Health/Mental Retardation Director James Hudack.
Public Defender James DiFrancesco proposed the raises for the two nonunion employees in his office because of the workload they took on after another employee retired. DiFrancesco and the commissioners agreed to the increase. Peo, who has objected to raises requested in the past, voted no.
DiFrancesco said he budgeted for the raises, using part of the salary money available because of the employee's retirement. Peo said he'd rather the county realize the entire savings from the employee's retirement.
Meling proposed the raise for Hudack, calling him the lowest-paid MH/MR director in the state, and for Cunningham, based on the salary of a male employee in a comparable position. Human Resources Director Katherine Sweighart recommended raises for Cunningham and Wyland, based on a review of the salary schedule showing them at the bottom. Tomassetti and Commissioner Ted Beam Jr. voted with Meling to support those raises. Peo voted no.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.