The Wapello County Board of Supervisors will discuss the recommendations made by the county compensation board regarding salary increases for many of the department heads during today's meeting at the courthouse.

The compensation board is recommending 30% increases for each of the elected officials that are department heads — attorney, auditor, recorder, treasurer, sheriff and the supervisors. 

Typically, the supervisors have settled on a 2% to 3% increase for staff, but the county ranked 80th or lower among counties in salaries for auditor, recorder, sheriff and treasurer.

The supervisors, in their decision-making in the past, have said that county employees do not have to pay for health insurance, and that keeps the salaries lower. They've always indicated that sick time and vacation time are generous for employees.

"The Compensation Board is cognizant of the impacts of COVID-19 on the community ...," the board wrote it recommendations. "COVID is not a reason to continue the historical substandard pay for elected officials."

What can complicate matters is if one of the department heads, for example, the sheriff, receives a 30% increase, then the other staff in that department also receive a raise because those salaries are based on the department head's.

In other business, the supervisors are expected to approve $5,134.25 to the Area 15 Regional Planning Commission for financial operating costs for the next fiscal year.

Also, Sara Neubert is expected to be approved as a full-time correctional officer in the jail, filling a vacant female position in the facility, and Shelby DenHartog is expected to be promoted to Clerk 3 in the county attorney's office.

The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in the third-floor courtroom/board room, and will be live-streamed on the supervisors' YouTube channel.

Ottumwa City Council

The city council meets for a special meeting for a handful of items.

On its agenda is setting Jan. 18 as a date for a public hearing regarding an application to the Iowa Economic Development Authority for a Community Development Block Grant from the COVID-19 program.

The grant is providing a special round of funding, and city staff has identified more housing that could be used with the funds. The unused second floor at 311 E. Main St. could have two, three-bedroom apartments, and the grant would provide up to $500,000 per project.

The council also will decide whether to be a part of the Wapello County Rural Fire Department Regional Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) that county emergency manager Tim Richmond has drafted. The grant will allow the city to participate in a grant that will equip all fire departments in the county with a new radio system.

The final item on the agenda is a housing, development and code-enforcement work session in which the city's policies and goals regarding each will be revisted.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, and will be live-streamed on the city's YouTube channel.

— Chad Drury can be reached at cdrury@ottumwacourier.com, and on Twitter @ChadDrury

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