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Marengo workers may get pay raise

Marengo County employees – the same ones who saw little or no pay raises last year – won’t complain about the same thing this year.

The Marengo County Commission held a budget work session Tuesday night, and Chairman Max Joiner said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss pay raises for county employees.

“Last year, we had to sit down and really look at what we had and where we needed to spend the money,” Joiner said. “We couldn’t give raises because of insurance rate increases and a couple of other factors. We could barely make it with what we had.”

This year, it appears county government is in better shape, fiscally.

“We’re going to look at making some adjustments and taking care of the people who work for the county,” Joiner said.

The commission was not expected to make a final decision on the expected pay increases Tuesday night.

“We haven’t approved our budget yet, and we won’t do so until our first meeting in October,” he said.

Because of that, it is unclear who will receive pay raises and how much the raise will be worth. It is clear, however, that the county won’t rely on new revenue from an increased sales tax to pay for the raises.

“We’re not even going to budget that money,” Joiner said. “That’s going to be set aside for the courthouse and those projects.”

In May, commissioners finally received permission from the Alabama Legislature to levy a one-cent sales tax on the citizens of Marengo County. The process of getting the tax approved – controversial in many circles – concluded when legislators passed a local bill through the House and Senate giving Marengo County the go-ahead to install the tax.

That sales tax is projected to bring around $1.5 million to the county coffers each year, and a good portion of that money will be used to help fund Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s indigent care fund. School systems in the county also will receive a proportional share of the tax revenue, while volunteer fire departments, city governments and the county also will receive fractions of the revenue.