HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - For the first time in seven years, employees of Harrison County will be getting a pay raise. The board of supervisors voted 3-to-2 Monday in favor of a four percent pay hike, effective December first.
The action follows several weeks of debating the issue.
"I'd like to offer a motion that we approve a four percent increase for employees, effective the first of December," said Supervisor Kim Savant, as the discussions began.
Supervisors revisited the pay raise issue after the discovery of some "one time" monies last week; enough to fund the four percent pay hike for three years.
Supervisor Marlin Ladner said if the economy doesn't turn around by then, the board will face some tough decisions.
"Those decisions will either be consider reducing personnel or raising taxes. Sooner or later. Hancock County is faced with that this year, but we have the money. The money is there for three years," said Ladner.
Supervisor Connie Rockco urged caution and fiscal responsibility. She said so many costs are going up, including utilities and insurance.
"We have a pending lawsuit with Section 42 housing, that if we lose, will cost this county $4 million. Four million dollars. I don't know where we're gonna get it," she told fellow board members.
"You're not saying they don't deserve it, what you're saying is you're concerned about next year and the following year," said Supervisor Savant.
"I don't want to fire anybody next year, because we had to give a raise this year. I just don't want to do that," Supervisor Rockco responded.
Board President William Martin said the immediate decision involves the budget for next year.
"To start making decisions on what could happen, in my opinion, is not being true to ourselves or our employees who haven't had a raise in seven years," he said.
The vote on the pay raise was 3-to-2.
Supervisors Martin, Savant and Ladner voted "yes", with supervisors Rockco and Swetman voting "no." Supervisors have a final budget hearing Tuesday morning in Gulfport.