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The Crawford County Quorum Court is scheduled to consider an ordinance tonight that would give raises to all county elected officials and employees, which, if passed, would cost the county nearly $481,000.

“It’s coming up because employees haven’t been getting raises for years,” County Judge Dennis Gilstrap said.

According to the proposed ordinance, elected officials would receive a $4,000 raise, full-time employees would receive $2,000 and part-time employees would receive $1,000.

Gilstrap said he hoped the raises are one of a number of raises officials and employees will receive to bring their pay more in line with counterparts in other counties in the state.

If approved, the money for the raises would come from anticipated revenue in six county funds and from leftover money from last year. The largest of the six county fund accounts, the general fund, would appropriate $284,640.80. The second-largest, the road fund, would appropriate $110,421.

Each account would provide the raises for the departments they fund. If passed, Gilstrap said, the raises would go into effect May 1.

While county officials work to conserve limited financial resources and roll leftover money into the next year, Gilstrap said improvements in the economy have generated more revenue for the county.

County Treasurer Beverly Pyle said revenue has been trending up for the past three years, producing an increase in sales tax revenue. And, with the opening of the new county jail in 2016, which increased capacity from 88 to 307 inmates, revenue from the jail fee has increased as well, she said.

County officials hope the raises will help retain employees who otherwise move on to better-paying jobs, often after the county goes to the trouble of training them, Gilstrap said.

Elected officials in Crawford County are paid less than those in other counties with comparable and even smaller populations, Gilstrap said.

In Crawford County, population 61,948, Gilstrap said he and Sheriff Ron Brown are paid $54,798 a year. In Crittenden County, population 50,902, the county judge is paid $76,000 and the sheriff, $73,000.

In Pope County, with a population nearly equal to that of Crawford County at 61,954, Gilstrap said the county judge is paid $65,000 a year and the sheriff is paid $61,000.

The average pay is about $70,200 for a county judge in a county the size of Crawford County, he said.

The Quorum Court will meet at 7 p.m. in the Circuit Courtroom at 220 S. Fourth St. in Van Buren.

Print Headline: Crawford County officials to vote on raises for all

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