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BOC votes to increase employee pay
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The board also:

• Approved a request by Delinda Umberger to rezone 1.998 acres on Alan Thomas Road from residential agriculture to commercial highway business. The owners plan to house their business Aqua Design Pools and Spas, with construction of the pools and spas to be conducted offsite.

• Approved the request by Northeastern Judicial Circuit Lee Darragh to unfreeze an ADA position and use $5,000 in county funds to supplement the employee's state income.

• Approved the installation of an ATM on the first floor of the government center at the request of Tax Commissioner Linda Townley.

• Approved a request by the Dawson County Tax Assessor's office for an additional $17,000 of funds for attorney's fees associated with tax appeals.

• Approved the 2015 Emergency Management Performance Grant.

• Approved a special events business license for MarineMax Boat Show.


County employees will soon see a few more dollars going into their wallets after the Dawson County Board of Commissioners approved pay raises Thursday night.

Of the $330,000 approved, the portion of salary increases for 2015 will be retro-active to June 20 for employees who have at least six months of employment with the county.

"I know it's been a while coming," said Commissioner James Swafford. "We want to thank all the employees of Dawson County for their hard work. Hopefully, this will help."

About $28,000 of the funds will be used to lift underpaid employees to the suggested minimum for their jobs based on a 2014 salary study.

According to the study, employees in 10 county departments were being paid below the recommended minimum.

The remaining will be distributed to department heads and constitutional officers to give salary adjustments to their employees.

This will be the fourth consecutive year county employees will have received some type of pay increase.

In 2012, fulltime employees received a one-time $500 bonus, while $250 was given to part time workers.

A year later in 2013, one-time pay increases ranged from $250-1,000 based on years of service.

Then last year, employees received at 2 percent cost of living adjustment. It was then that commissioners also approved funds to raise salaries to minimum standards with a 10 percent cap based on the salary study.

"Counting next year, that would be for a three year period, over 6 percent," Swafford said. "I don't know of anybody around that's giving raises any higher."

Employees with the Dawson County Sheriff's Office will not be included in this round of county raises.

Instead, they are anticipating increases that were previously approved and should be going out within the next few weeks.

The commission voted on July to transfer funds from the sheriff's budget for new patrol cars into the department's operating costs.

Sheriff Billy Carlisle said he is going to use $95,000 to give nearly 85 percent of his staff raises in an effort to combat against them going to other law enforcement agencies offering higher salaries and better benefits.

"That's what's happening right now. They're actually recruiting our employees, because they are already experienced and trained, and I'm losing them," he said earlier this summer.

He's lost 117 employees in the last seven years, with 96 of them resigning to take better paying jobs with better equipment at other counties and city police departments.

A breakdown of the salary study showed that employees in the sheriff's office were among several departments requiring greater increases to reach minimums.