DALLAS -- Polk County's elected officials may see a cost of living adjustment (COLA), but no other increase in their salaries in the 2012-13 budget.
The county is now in salary negotiations with all four of its employee unions, the outcome of which will determine how much the COLAs will be, said County Administrator Greg Hansen.
Elected officials will receive the same cost of living increase as the county's American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union, except the sheriff, who will receive the same COLA as the Deputy Sheriff's Association (DSA) employees receive.
Hansen said there isn't room in the budget to offer Polk's elected officials -- the Board of Commissioners, Assessor, Clerk, Sheriff and Treasurer -- more of a raise.
The District Attorney's salary is paid by the state, but many counties approve a stipend to supplement that income. Polk County hasn't approved a stipend for years and hasn't proposed one for 2012-13.
Hansen did recommend increases to expense accounts for the BOC and sheriff as well as stipends for the treasurer and assessor for additional duties performed outside the scope of their office. Those increases will cost less than $10,000. The upcoming COLAs will have a yet-to-be-determined impact on the budget.
Hansen presented his recommendation to the county's Compensation Committee, the three citizen members of the county's budget committee.
Hansen pointed out that even with a COLA, elected officials in Polk County continue to make less than in neighboring or similar-sized counties. In the case of the three commissioners and treasurer, the salaries paid to Polk's officials lag by double-digit percentages.
Even with a COLA, the county likely won't be closing that gap in the 2012-13 budget.
"The fiscal constraints we have now doesn't allow that," Hansen said. "We continue to inch our way worse and worse (in comparison with other counties)."
Hansen pointed out the responsibility of elected offices may differ county to county and not all the counties included in the comparison survey are the same size.
"Some are bigger, some smaller, but in most cases (their elected officials) are paid more," he said.
Compensation Committee Chairman Denny Wilfong agreed that the situation would not be remedied soon.
"We are going to continue to lag," he said. "Hopefully, we can get to a position where we can get on a more even keel. But, no, I don't think we are in a position to give more of an increase."
The committee approved Hansen's recommendation May 16, followed full budget committee approval the same day.
Proposed salaries (monthly):
Board of Commissioners: $5,780.
Treasurer/Tax collector: $5,896.
District Attorney (paid by the state): $7,363.
* All salaries are without possible cost of living increase.
* Source: Polk County