Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Steamboat Springs Full-time employees of Routt County government can look forward to a $1,000 bonus check Dec. 8, regardless of their salary, after the Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the $390,000 expenditure Tuesday.
The commissioners said the bonuses became possible because 2011 revenues are projected to be up about $600,000 from budget projections.
The commissioners decided on a flat bonus in part because they did not want to give employees a raise and then find out a year from now they couldn’t afford it.
“We wanted to be fair to everyone,” Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
“I sent letters out to all of our employees making them aware of the bonuses, and I’ve heard back from a number of them expressing their appreciation,” County Manager Tom Sullivan said Wednesday. “We wanted to acknowledge the work of our employees and show our appreciation that they’ve hung in there the last three years with something they could take to the bank.”
The county actually will spend about $1,320 for each $1,000 bonus extended to full-time employees who worked 2,080 hours this year, Sullivan said. That step was taken to ensure the actual cash value of the check after withholding is $1,000.
Taken cumulatively, the bonuses being paid out are the equivalent of 2 percent of the average compensation of all county employees, according to the information packet prepared for Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting. That calculation took into account the $1,320 per full-time employee that will be expended to award the full $1,000 bonus.
Employees who worked part-time or only a portion of the year will receive prorated bonuses. A few employees who were hired within the past two months will receive $25 bonus checks.
Employees who have been with the county for the past three years are making 3 percent less than they were in 2008, the result of budget cuts.
The commissioners, fearing a continuing decline in revenues a year ago, gave county employees $100 bonus checks in December 2010 with the intent that they would be enough to pay for a holiday meal.
The commissioners began planning for this year’s bonuses during the budget process last fall, Sullivan said, hoping that revenues would exceed their expectations. He acknowledged that he and Finance Director Dan Strnad were not optimistic that would come to pass.
“We thought the 2 percent increase in sales tax revenues in 2010 was an anomaly that could not be sustained, and we both thought a second recession was likely,” Sullivan said.
Increases in sales tax revenues accounted for $500,000 of the $600,000 increase in county revenues this year. The packet also reported that the results of a 2011 salary survey of local governments in resort communities showed that Routt County employee wages and salaries are below average — approximately 10 percent below the pay range midpoints of those other jurisdictions.
— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com