Hennepin County commissioners give themselves a pay raiseby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Hennepin County commissioners voted 5 to 2 yesterday to give themselves a 3.4 percent pay increase in each of the next two years.
Their salaries will top $100,000 in 2010.
The increases match the maximum raises offered to regular county employees for 2008 and 2009, and property taxes are expected to decrease slightly for many Hennepin County homeowners next year.
But the county is also facing a significant budget shortfall, and may have to make hundreds of layoffs in 2009.
Outgoing commissioner Penny Steele, of Rogers, abstained from the vote. She said she didn't want to vote for a pay increase she would not have to answer to voters for. Steele also said it was a bad time for a raise for elected officials.
"You know, obviously, with the kind of pressures on the people that live in Hennepin County, in terms of job losses in terms of their own property taxes still perhaps going up or not being reduced, and yet the valuations are not where they were a few years ago. I mean, there's a lot of pressure on the people that live in this county," Steele said.
Commissioner Linda Koblick, of Wayzata, voted against the pay raise.