Kent County Levy Court is considering a proposal to give current employees and retired workers a 2.2 percent cost of living adjustment within the proposed 2013 fiscal year budget.


Kent County Levy Court is considering a proposal to give current employees and retired workers a 2.2 percent cost of living adjustment within the proposed 2013 fiscal year budget.

The modest increase in pay would not keep pace with the standard, 3 percent to 4 percent rate of inflation, Kent County Department of Finance Director Susan Durham said.

“It’s not really a raise in that it’s costing you more to live,” Durham said. “It’s not like you’re going to have extra money. Whatever it costs to live is now 2 to 3 percent higher so we’re just trying to help deal with that.”

Levy Court President P. Brooks Banta said the cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase was calculated based on 2.7 percent inflation within the Tri-State area.

“We felt that 2.2 percent was fair,” he said.

Employees and retirees received a 1.8 percent increase for the current, 2012 fiscal year, Durham said. They received no increases for the two previous fiscal years prior.

Kent County’s financial picture is healthy, thereby allowing for the bump in pay and in pensions, Durham said.

“We’re very, very strict on spending,” she said. “So, everyone’s just done a good job in that there is no frivolous spending.”

Kent County proposed the increase for both groups since the cost of living goes up each year, Durham said.

The proposed 2013 FY budget for Kent County has $22.4 million slated for both revenues and expenditures, according to the budget document submitted to Levy Court. The amended 2012 fiscal year budget has $21.8 million in revenues and $22.9 million in expenditures.

Kent County Levy Court began its 2013 budget discussions in August 2011, Banta said. Since then, there have been more than 20 meetings between County Administrator Michael Petit de Mange, Durham and all department heads. In January, the commissioners had an opportunity to review the budget in detail during their retreat.

Levy Court then held public committee meetings on the budget in February and have continued doing so through March, Banta said.

“It’s an elongated process and one that we take very seriously,” he said. “It’s not our money; it’s taxpayer money and we need to be extremely cautious on how we spend that money.”