As expected, the Liberty County Commission agreed Thursday to raise commissioners’ pay starting in 2019, but one commissioner voted no. Pat Bowen said he would prefer to wait for a look at finances in April before hiking pay.
The one-year expense of the raises will cost the county $87,600 over current commissioners pay.
County Administrator Joey Brown said he had tried to research the last time commissioners’ pay had been raised, but had only been able to learn that “it was sometime before 1992.”
In other business, County Finance Director Kim McGlothlin reported that revenue from the special purpose local option sales tax through October was less than the $750,000 needed each month to reach the projected $54 million target over six years.
“Collections are still a little off,” McGlothlin said.
Sales tax income is seasonal and usually peaks in January, September and March or April, she said.
Chairman Donald Lovette said, “If we have seen no peak by spring, we need to have a sit-down with our partners,” to explain again that sales tax figures are based on projections of funds to be received and are not guaranteed.
Commissioner Gary Gilliard asked, “The don’t know that already?”
Brown said in all discussions of sales tax proceeds entities who receive tax revenue were told the amount was variable, possibly totaling $52 million, for example.
Officials were concerned that some debt had already been issued based on sales tax income estimates which may fall short.
The commissioners also approved purchase of two new firetrucks at a cost of $749,000 and agreed to seek grant funding for special lighting designed for fire scenes and for improved battery-powered extrication equipment.
The commissioners named John McIver to a vacant seat on the board of elections and registrations and discussed procedures for naming a new chairman for that panel. McIver was longtime mayor of Riceboro before serving two terms as chairman of the county commission.
County library board chairman Sandra Sheffield appeared before the commission to discuss plans for renaming the Midway-Riceboro branch and to introduce new library officials, including Executive Director Trent Reynolds.