County employees receive salary increase
Commissioners OK land purchase for county park and allocate senior millage receipts.
When the New Year arrives, 291 clerical, professional and management employees at Kent County will get a 2 percent pay hike. On the same day, they will begin contributing more to their pensions.
County commissioners recently approved the pay raise and accepted the higher contribution from the workers to their retirement plans.
The salary increase will cost the county an additional $456,775 in payroll next year, but that increase will be offset by the employees contributing an extra $197,741 to their pensions. The workers agreed to raise their contribution rate on Jan. 1 from 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent of their annual salaries.
The county’s human resources department reported that the salary increase is consistent with other public entities. The employees are not unionized and are covered under the county’s Management Pay Plan.
Commissioners also agreed to allocate $6.1 million from the county’s senior millage to 30 agencies that will provide in-home services, prescription assistance, flu and pneumonia vaccinations, transportation, meals, day care, and emergency funding to the county’s senior citizens next year.
The 2014 allocation is about $25,000 more than this year’s, but it’s still not considered to be enough to fill all the needs. Commissioners are likely to approve a half-mill increase for the dedicated millage that is expected to go before voters countywide next year, possibly in August.
The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan contracts with the millage’s service providers on behalf of the county.
Commissioners also gave the county’s parks department the green light to buy a 20-acre parcel at 13440 Covered Bridge Road NE near Fallasburg Park. The department will maintain the property in its natural state and add it to the park.
The parks department is buying the acreage from Joyce Humphrey for $208,000, but is only paying $9,500 of the purchase price. The Lowell Area Community Fund is contributing $198,500, while the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation, the Peter Secchia Family and the Korth Family Foundation are each donating $25,000 to the purchase transaction. Another $23,000 is coming from the Kent County Parks Foundation.
Humphrey has volunteered to pay the transaction’s closing cost, which is estimated at $3,400.