Elected officials for Pettis County will see a 12 percent salary increase in 2017 after the 2016 election.
Pettis County’s choice to increase elected officials’ pay is part of its staggered plan for salary increases to bring them in line with other Missouri counties with assessed property valuations similar to Pettis County, according to Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada, who drafted a report for the county’s Salary Commission.
The Salary Commission is comprised of a quorum of elected officials who are newly appointed every two years to determine such increases. Salary increases of non-elected county employees are determined by the County Commission.
Every county in Missouri has a salary commission for elected employees.
“We meet every two years to discuss salary increases,” said Sheriff Kevin Bond, who was appointed as the commission’s chair by other Salary Commission members. “We do not summarily grant increases every year, especially if the county’s cash flow doesn’t warrant such an increase.”
The commission last granted a salary increase of 2 percent in 2013. Prior to that, elected officials were last given a 12 percent increase in 2005.
But the 2008 downturn in the economy, according to La Strada, led to Pettis County freezing elected officials’ salaries between the years of 2005 to 2013.
“At that time, we couldn’t afford (the pay raises),” La Strada said. “When the economy went south, elected officials didn’t get raises.
“We’re developing a system to give salary increases incrementally, instead of giving a lump sum every so many years,” he added.
According to La Strada, the commission report’s criteria called for comparing elected officials’ salaries with those of counties similar to Pettis. However, the salaries in general are based on the county’s assessed property value and the amount of revenue that is available for cash flow.
The county’s assessed property is valued at approximately $551 million. The cash flow revenue is estimated to be $2.1 million dollars as of the fourth quarter of December. That amount is further adjusted to approximately $1.7 million after paying back an over-payment of sales tax revenue collected from an undisclosed local business of approximately $433,000 to the Missouri Department of Revenue.
When compared with other counties similarly sized, Pettis County ranks among the highest in assessed property value and the lowest salaries paid to elected officials. For example, the Presiding County Commissioner of Pettis County is paid $36,214 annually, while his counterpart in Johnson County is paid $41,026 annually. The Pettis County Sheriff earns $57,120 and his counterpart in Phelps County is paid $63,648 annually. The 2017 salary increases in salaries of elected officials will collectively total $64,676.
“Even with the raises, salaries are still lower than the other counties used in the comparison,” La Strada said. ‘We have been very conservative in our spending.”
2017 salaries for Pettis County officials with the 12 percent raise in effect:
Presiding County Commissioner*
Associate County Commissioner*
Editor Tim Epperson can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1485.