NEWS

Few raises in Antrim

PAT FRIDGEN

In a surprise move, the Antrim Township supervisors announced Tuesday morning that employees will not be getting raises next year, with the exception of two.

At the 11 a.m. meeting Dec. 29, in which the 2010 budget was approved, chairman Curtis Myers, Fred Young III and Rick Baer reported that economics played into the decision.

Myers said the cost of living adjustments, which Antrim has historically used to determine raises, was negative for the first time in decades. In addition, recipients of Social Security will not see an increase in payments in the new year.

Young added that they had done their homework investigating how other municipalities were handling salaries. Few were offering traditional raises. In addition, Antrim was absorbing close to an eight percent increase in health care benefit costs for the fulltime employees. In lieu of asking employees to contribute to those expenses, the board decided to forego raises.

“It’s not a raise you can grasp,” Young said, “but it’s real money.”

The two employees granted raises were roadmaster Paul Minnich and utilities technician/foreman Doug McCulloh.

Minnich’s hourly rate will go up one dollar to $21.50 and McCulloh’s $1.50 to $19.55. The supervisors said McCulloh had taken classes and earned additional certifications recently.

Myers said Minnich qualified because “he goes above and beyond and he’s a very valuable employee.”

In addition, the township will increase the amount it gives to employees who do not take health insurance, which runs $18,000 per person per year. The reimbursement will go up from $550 per quarter to $1,000 per quarter. The two affected employees are Minnich and assistant zoning officer Lynda Beckwith.

The supervisors also authorized township administrator Brad Graham to evaluate employee performance in six months, and perhaps quarterly, to consider merit-based raises.

“People should be rewarded for doing a good job,” said Myers.

The criteria for those raises is yet to be determined.

In the absence of supervisors James Byers and Sam Miller, the three were pleased with the 2010 budget.

“It’s conservatively prepared,” said Young. “I’m confident going forward it will be balanced.”

Myers was also sure revenues would come in greater than expenses. The general fund budget calls for revenue of $3.08 million, expenses of $4.10 million and transfers of $991,000 in reserve funds.