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County board approves wage increase

County board approves wage increase

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Final meeting

AWARD: District 6 Supervisor Ed Rastovski, left, and District 2 Supervisor and Chairperson Doris Karloff, right, take a photo at the Saunders County courthouse during a Board of Supervisors meeting on Jan. 5. Rastovski was awarded a certificate of appreciation for his nine years as a supervisor. (Staff Photo by Elsie Stormberg)

WAHOO – After seven weeks, the Saunders County Board of Supervisors finally made the amendment to the annual wage increases for non-union employees at its Jan. 5 meeting.

During the Nov. 17 meeting, the county board had a long discussion about the topic, ultimately making the motion for half of the employees to receive a 2% increase and the other half to receive a 3% increase based on where the employees are on their pay grids retroactive from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. All deputies of elected officials will have a 1.5% increase. From 2021 through 2023 all non-union, or non-bargaining, employees will continue to receive a 2% wage increase for each year. 

While the motion was carried, there was still confusion on the topic. Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz said that his employees had worked out a different deal of which the board was not unaware. 

On Jan. 5, District 6 Supervisor Ed Rastovski made the motion from the finance committee to amend the prior ruling and it was approved by the county board. 

All non-bargaining employees will receive a 3% wage increase including elected officials like the county assessor, clerk of the district court and county treasurer retroactive to July 1, 2020 and will last until June 30, 2021. 

There were a few exceptions, however. 

The first deputy of the county attorney will receive a 1.5% increase while the second deputy will receive a 3% increase. The corrections administrator will receive a one-time COVID-19 related bonus of $1,500 plus the 3% increase and the IT administrator will have a 4% wage increase so the pay is comparable to other IT administrators in the area, District 1 Supervisor Dave Lutton said.      

This was one of the last motions that Rastovski made as a supervisor. With Tom Hrdlicka taking over his seat on Jan. 12, this meeting was Rastovski’s final as a supervisor for Saunders County.  Supervisors Chairperson Doris Karloff presented Rastovski with a certificate of appreciation thanking him for his nine years as a supervisor. 

“You have done a great service for Saunders County,” Karloff said.

As Rastovski accepted the award, he said he wanted to share a few words of reflection with the board. He said he was thankful to be able to share the pressure that comes with being a public official with his fellow board members. Rastovski also left the board with the sentiment to keep utilizing each member’s different qualities to resume solving issues within the community. 

“Each of you have things that are beneficial to us and that’s what makes this board good,” Rastovksi said. “That’s what you need to continue to do – just work together and solve problems.” 

In other action, the board approved an application from Hancock Construction to amend Section 5.04 of the Saunders County Zoning Regulations related to non-conforming structures during a public hearing. 

A non-conforming structure is something that does not fit within the county zoning regulations, Saunders County Zoning Administrator Mitch Polacek said in an interview after the meeting. The application was in regards to a building near Ithaca which does not meet the county regulation of being within 100 feet of the center of the road.  

As of Jan. 7, the regulations state that all districts within the county cannot receive a building permit “for an existing nonconforming structure, if the proposed expansion (including any other such expansion) exceeds 50% of the square footage of the original structure.” 

With the approval from both the Saunders County Planning Commission and county board, the regulation will include “areas that are not the agricultural district” and add another consideration to the section. “In the agricultural district, no building permit shall be authorized for an existing nonconforming structure, if the proposed expansion (including any other such expansions) exceeds 100% of the square footage of the original structure. The addition is not to exceed 2,250 square feet,” according to the resolution. 

Lutton made the motion with the stipulations to alter some of the verbiage within the resolution and the last paragraph in the new consideration be changed to, “No addition shall exceed 2,250 square feet.” 

It was approved by all members of the county board.

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