After a lengthy meeting Tuesday morning, the Butler County Commission discussed specifications regarding next fiscal year’s budget and got into the nitty gritty details on personnel wage increases and other spending habits of the Commission.

Commissioner Ed Myers pointed out that an outside study conducted at the beginning of the year showed that the County really hadn’t strayed too far in its spending and compensation of employees even though it had been longer than a decade since the last time the county had an outside source look at its expenditures and rates. There was little deviation from the means in this area.

“Generally that’s a sign that you’re close to where everyone else has been going,” Myers said.

Despite that, he also felt that the County might be wise to loosen up on some line items in the future.He worried that, down the line, there will be an increase in pent-up demand. He actually thinks there may be situations where the county could even consider more flexibility. He mentioned detention-center shortcomings as an example, though other funds have been used to compensate for that.

A big topic of discussion revolved around a plan to determine raises for county employees based on years worked, including a 14-year increase percentage cap. The Commission discussed some irregularities with regards to certain employees who have had far more tenure than others, though the wage increase doesn’t perfectly compensate for that. In the end, though, they all agreed that, while tweaks might need to be made, no system would be perfect.

Commissioner Jeff Masterson expressed his concern not so much with the foreseeable budget in 2018, but the uncertainty of the budget beyond that, going into 2019 and 2020. 

Fire Station construction to begin in August

Now that the protest period has ended, the County moved forward and authorized the construction of a new fire station in Benton. The total cost will upwards near $500,000, though the Commission thoroughly discussed options to pay off on the principal sooner to save on paying on the interest later. There is a 15-year payment plan in place, though the plan could be finished sooner than that.

BCC student interns

The County approved 4-0 to allow EMT students an internship agreement and, should the college implement a full program, would grant them ridealong privileges. The plan is similar to a proposal for Cowley County Community College, as well.

Roof to be fixed

The County agreed to fix the North Highway Shop roof, which needs full replacement instead of just repairs. The cost is a little more than initially reported because of pond that collected on top of the flat roof.

Trailer disposition

Instead of scrapping them, the County agreed to donate some recycle trailers that no longer are in use to Elk County