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Cache County Council approves $550,000 for merit raises

December 14th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Nick Bolinder

LOGAN – Cache County Council approved $250,000 in the budget Tuesday to be allocated for employees’ merit raises. If funds are available, the council approved up to $300,000 more to be allocated on July 1, also for merit increases.

Many county employees were present to learn the fate of their salaries. The council wanted to reward employees but were cautious to promise money they were not certain would be there.

“I’m concerned that our employees aren’t getting their fair share of the pie,” Councilman Gordon Zilles said. “They seem to always be getting left behind. If you don’t think that’s true compare us to every other county in the state. If we can’t attract and keep good employees than we as a council have failed.”

“If we allocate all of this money now it ties us down for future funding of projects,” Counciman Val Potter said. “In a tough revenue situation if a project comes up we can’t move forward.”

“I want to commit today, that if there is money available it will be spent for this,” Council Chairman John White said.

County Executive Lynn Lemon had moved money from other areas in the budget to create more money for employee salary. “We asked what we could cut out of the budget that would not need to be restored next year,” Lemon said.

Zilles asked if Lemon was worried that these funds would not be there at the end of the year.

“I am very confident,” Lemon said. “I don’t anticipate that we are going to need to go back and restore that money.”

The money will be given to employees at the department managers’ discretion but is to be given based on merit.

The council also heard from represenatives of the Sample family as well as other property owners in the Davenport Road area. The road has been gated and access restricted at the Sample’s property line. Property owners up the road from the gate are taking action, stating that it is a public road. The Samples claim that it is not a public road.

The other property owners have asked the council to re-take possesion of the road through negotiations and/or eminent domain. Eminent domain is when the government seizes an individual’s property or rights to property at a cost they determine to be appropriate without the owner’s consent. The property owners claim they have been restricted access to their property by the Samples closing the road.

“I have to travel an extra 27 miles to get to my property,” Dave Nielson said.

“How do they get to their properties now?” Gary Samples said, “we are not locking them out.”

The council passed the resolution to enter negotiation with the Samples on the rights to the road. Councilman Petersen and Chairman White abstained from voting on the resolution.

The county will have to pay for the negotiating process. “It seems to me that there are other things such as employee salaries you could use this money for,” Scott Samples said.

The council extended the truancy ordinance wich requires parents to verify absenses or their children could be issued a ticket from the Sheriff’s Office.

Members of the Logan High School Environmental Club went before the council to applaud their effort to fix the air quality and gave further suggestions, such as re-establishing a $2 per vehicle registration fee and requiring emmissions testing.

Hyrum State Park’s new manager Chris Haramoto spoke to the council about the changes the state will be making to the park. Some of the changes include a dump station for RVs, concessions, and possibly a winter festival.


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