Pay raises hot issue at Quorum Court meeting
The house was packed for the Poinsett County Quorum Court's monthly meeting this past Monday at the courthouse annex building in Harrisburg. With the large crowd, Poinsett County Judge Bob Cantrell told those in attendance that the agenda would followed strictly and if any had questions or comments, he would be happy to discuss them in his office. All justices were present for the meeting.
Pay raises were the hot item of the night for the Quorum Court. The issue was brought up questioning how it was fair for some departments to get a three percent raise because they have funds to provide the raise when other departments that do not have the extra funds can't give their employees a raise. Poinsett County Judge Bob Cantrell said it's always been okay to give a pay raise if the budget allows. "If you have the money in your budge to give a raise, I see no problem with it," Cantrell said.
After a lengthy discussion on the topic, Justice JC Carter made a motion to give everyone a three percent raise to solve the problem. The county treasurer said the new raises would cost about $60,000 when asked about it. After a brief discussion about that, the motion changed to exclude Quorum Court members from getting the pay increase, and the motion passed 10-1 with Justice Randy Jones voting against. (The funds for this raise will come from a millage change explained later in this article.)
In other new business, Poinsett County Sheriff Kevin Molder asked to court for funds to pay for new evidence software for the department. "Our software now is 12 years old, and it can't do what we need it to do. This new software and training will get us up to date. The cost will be $9,200, and after 2019 it will be $1,000 a year for updates to the software," Molder said. The justices voted to allow the purchase.
The Quorum Court also decided to propose a 3/4 cent sales tax to voters during a special election in June. This money would go toward the Sheriff's Office to help with maintaining the detention center. The proposed one cent sales tax failed in the November election.
Also in new business was Ordinance 2018-18 for the Proposed Tax Millage. To help with county general, Cantrell gave 0.4 of his proposed 1.4 increase for the County Road to the County General, creating around $100,000 for the county. Cantrell also stated that if the proposed three-quarter cent sales tax passes in June, he would get the 0.4 back to County Road. The motion for the 0.4 to County General passed 10-1 with Justice Jerry Carter voting no. The millage was then voted on with a passage of 10-1 with Justice Donnie Taylor voting against.
Appropriations and Transfers Ordinance 2018-19 was passed with appropriations of $24,286.58 and transfers of $2,000 for a total of $26,286.58. The final new business was the passage of the county budget for 2019. The proposed budget had expenditures of $8,155,314.71 with a projected revenue of $9,650,209.66.