County employees received an early Christmas present last Tuesday night.
The Walton County Board of Commissioners approved a 5% cost of living raise which will take effect the first pay period in December. Chairman David Thompson said the raises will cost $2,492,270.80. He said the high inflation rate and numerous openings in various departments justify the raise in pay.
“Inflation is horrific right now,” the Chairman said. “They say the most expensive vehicle you can drive today is a grocery cart. It’s getting that bad. All of our employees have been hurt just by buying groceries. You can say what you want but this pay raise is justified.”
The county currently has 34 full-time openings in the sheriff ’s office and three temporary openings. There are five EMS full-time positions available and nine temporary. In addition, there are nine full-time positions in fire and 20 temporary. There is one full-time EMA and eight at 911.
“I have no problem proposing a five percent cost of living and pay raise,” Thompson said. “We can brag on all departments this year. This has been one of our most efficient years since I’ve been here. Our departments don’t spend all their budget if they don’t have to. It goes back into the general fund.”
“It is definitely justified and definitely needed,” commissioner Jeremy Adams said. “I am 100% in support of it.”
The pay raise passed unanimously.