PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

August 4, 2011

County to look at employee pay raises Friday

PORT ARTHUR — Though still early in the process, it looks as if Jefferson County won’t be imposing a tax increase, likely because of added industrial revenues.

For fiscal year 2011-2012, the county will see a $5.5 million increase in industrial revenue.

The additional revenue is making it a easier to prepare the new budget without a tax increase, but there is still some cutting left to do, Patrick Swain, county auditor, said Thursday in a telephone interview.

Trimming the fat from county expenditures will continue at 9 a.m. Friday when County Commissioners discuss the upcoming budget during a workshop session.

Commissioners will review last week’s budget hearings where county department heads had the opportunity to request operational funding for the coming budget year.

After starting with $115.4 million in funding requests last week, the figure was whittled down to $111.7 million, Swain said.

Swain said at Friday’s workshop, further cuts will be addressed including new employee positions.

Eleven new positions have thus far been requested, but only two received a favorable response: a full-time deputy in the Precinct 2 Constable’s office and a new employee in the juvenile detention control room.

Employee pay raises will also be discussed. A 2 percent raise for all non-union employees will cost $840,000, money that is currently not in the budget, Swain said.

The current effective tax rate is roughly 37 cents. Swain said he did not expect the county to adopt a rate above that.

skoonce@panews.com

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