RSS feed of this blog

Projected Stafford budget contains new hires, raises

For the first time since 2007, Stafford County government could add new staff who aren’t in the public safety realm. And employees could see an average 2 percent raise.

The proposed $253 million budget calls for four new full-time positions—a manager to help implement the new computer-aided dispatch system coming online in the next year or so; two people to maintain new parks opening next spring; and a partially state-funded position to assist with a required technology upgrade in Social Services.

As the county’s population boomed in the mid-2000s, the number of county staff kept pace, hitting a maximum of 401 full-time positions in fiscal 2009. But budget woes forced that down by 73 in three years.

County Administrator Anthony Romanello applauds the county for being financially responsible in terms of staffing, by starting new programs with existing staff (such as the one-stop permit office), maintaining twice as many parks, and for volunteers who have saved nearly a half-million dollars over the past year.

Over the past decade, as other county staffing numbers were in flux, career fire and rescue staff were also coming on board, with numbers continuing to increase to 351 today.

Romanello’s proposed fiscal 2014 budget includes fully funding nine public safety positions that were previously funded by grant money. These include seven firefighters (from the SAFER grant), one school resource officer and one detective (partially state funded).

Romanello said the county is keeping an eye on the increasing amount of development and its impact on staff in related departments. Permits have gone up 22 percent, but staffing levels are unchanged. That’s an area that’s likely to see new positions in coming years.

County employees could see raises, though the amount is dependent upon performance evaluations and could be offset by insurance choices.

Last week, they saw an average 2.5 percent raise based on performance, retroactive to January. To maintain those rates, the county will need to fund a full year’s worth this year.

The proposed budget calls for an average 2 percent pay-for-performance raise in April 2014.

Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975