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Pasco looking to give employees raises

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Published:   |   Updated: June 14, 2013 at 11:24 AM

DADE CITY - Pasco Commission Chairman Ted Schrader said commissioners may have to tap into the county's reserves to be able to fund the employees' first pay increase in six years.

"I think the board is still committed to it based on the conversations we had last week," he said.

The raises will be expensive - especially since the county recognized zero growth in its tax base this year. Commissioners got their first look this week at budgets submitted by three of five constitutional officers.

County Clerk Paula O'Neal's $3 million budget reflects a 7.7-percent increase. Sheriff Chris Nocco's proposed $93 million budget would increase 7.2-percent, or $6.2 million. Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley's budget inches closer to the $2 million mark with his proposed 5.3-percent increase. Corley noted that his office has reduced its budget by 21 percent over the last six years.

All three constitutional officers included 3-percent pay raises in their proposed budgets. The costs range from $26,000 for the Supervisor of Elections to $1.9 million for the Sheriff's Office.

Nocco's budget also includes $1.7 million for increased pension costs and $1.9 million to open the third floor of the jail, which includes $445,000 to hire 41 additional employees to staff the expanded facility.

Schrader said pension fund increases caught him by surprise.

"When you consider the (Florida Retirement System) increases for the county employees and school district, that's $10 million that's leaving the county and going to Tallahassee and Wall Street," Schrader said. "At least if we give our employees pay raises, we know that most of that money will be spent right here in Pasco County."

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