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Hancock County Proposes Taxpayers Pay 4.4% Increase

Hancock County Elected Official Salaries Rank Above Average

Hancock County has proposed a 4.4% property tax levy increase on urban taxpayers with a slight decrease to rural. The initial public hearing on the proposed 2020-2021 fiscal year budget will be held Tuesday, February 16th at 9:15am in the Hancock County Board of Supervisors chambers. The reason given for the increase is an additional $154,487 for courthouse improvements on top of the already $250,000 that was budgeted last year for tuck pointing and windowsill replacement, but never spent. Supervisor Jerry Tlach tells about the increase.

Hancock County Supervisor Jerry Tlach

Other anticipated projects include new courthouse flooring at a projected cost of between $41,000 to $48,000, and the possibility of remodeling the basement bathrooms at a cost unknown. The increase in requested tax dollars does not apply to rural residents, as Tlach says that levy will actually decrease slightly.

Other line items of the proposed 2020-2021 fiscal year budget include 4 to 5 percent salary increases – 4 percent for all elected officials with the exception of the auditor who would receive a 5 percent raise. These figures were recommended by the compensation board last month. The Hancock County Supervisors can vote to approve said raises, decrease them, or decline them.

For the last 3 consecutive years, Hancock County elected officials have averaged a 4.17 percent increase each year, with the exception of the Supervisors who have averaged a 2.67 percent increase each year. In comparison, the cost of living increase in 2019 was 2.8%, and in 2020, only 1.2%.

Currently, Hancock County ranks 69th out of 99 counties in population ranking, but its total elected official salaries rank in the top 27 of 99 counties, so their salaries are sitting well above average for counties of similar populations and many even larger.

Here is a comparison of similar sized counties and their elected official salaries based on fiscal year 2021.

county salary 2021

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic still continuing to plague and many experiencing its resulting economic hardships, the question arose are the county taxpayers getting raises at their jobs. Social Security checks are only expected to increase 1.3 percent, and for those employed, 4-5 percent increases are seemingly unrealistic. Local businesses did not wish to go on record in regards to wage increases, so KIOW conducted an anonymous poll raising the question “Area county elected officials are voting on raises averaging 4 percent, have you recently received a raise at your job, and if so, how much?”

From our KIOW news poll, 70 percent of respondents have not received a raise lately and 16 percent of those have never received a raise at their job. Only 30 percent of respondents have actually received a raise in recent months, with only 2-4 percent getting a raise commensurate to county officials’ proposed pay raises.

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