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Budget includes raises, new court

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After paying for a new court and pay raises for county employees, the county is expected to spend about $650,000 more next year than it will bring in.

That forecast is based on a worst-case scenario, where the amount of revenue the county receives increases by less than 1 percent. But county officials expect to have enough money to cover expenses because revenue has increased by at least 4 percent each of the past three years.

County council members decided to leave a 2 percent increase in employee salaries in the budget, but a 3 percent pay increase should be explored, members Pete Ketchum and Loren Snyder said.

If someone approaches the council looking to add an employee, they need a good reason, council member Brian Walker said.

“I can’t justify a new employee by just hearing someone saying, ‘We’re busy,’” Walker said. “I would like to see a caseload, some data — something showing the need for a new employee.”

Circuit Judge Mark Loyd is creating the budget for the new

Superior Court 4. The new court will have four employees, similar to the other courts, Loyd said. The budget for Superior Court 3 last year was about $384,000.

The new court will deal only with civil cases and will spend about $150,000 less than other courts by not having to pay for attorney fees for defendants, mental evaluations and other services needed for criminal trials, Loyd said.

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