Kosciusko County Council approved a 2 percent salary increase for all county employees in a split vote Thursday, and a similar bump in funding for nonprofits.
The raise for full-time and part-time employees and board members came at the recommendation of the wage committee, along with a few specific requests from county offices. Councilmen Brad Tandy, Jim Moyer and Jon Garber spoke in favor during Thursday’s special budget meeting, saying departments have been responsible with their budgets and that the raise would be covered by extra income expected through the Economic Development Income Tax and County Option Income Tax.
Councilmen Larry Teghtmeyer and Doug Heinisch voted against the raise, the first recommending a 1 percent raise in light of rising employee benefit costs and the latter saying increased revenue should be paired with decreased spending.
“It’s not prudent to spend that kind of percentage increase year after year,” Teghtmeyer said. “Having passed two new taxes recently, I feel we should be conservative.”
The 2 percent increase in contributions to non-profits, approved unanimously, amounts to $21,599 above what County Commissioners recommended, noted Council President Bob Sanders – but only a third of the total increase agency directors requested in June. Commissioners had recommended maintaining the 2014 funding level of $455,326, which was a slight drop after three years with no change either way.
Funding still falls below what the agencies received last year even with the increase, noted Garber, adding that agencies all reported in June seeing increased  demand for services without an increase in financial support.