Southampton County to address employee compensation

Published 12:07 pm Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors last year contracted Springsted, one of the largest and most established independent public sector advisory firms in the country, to review Southampton’s current Classification and Compensation Plan and develop a new one for the supervisors’ consideration.

The firm’s report, which will be shared at the county’s Monday, April 25, meeting, shows that 56 of the localities 142 employees are currently working for less than the market-based minimum recommended salary.

“The overall total cost to bring each employee up to their minimum recommended salary and provide a 0.5 percent adjustment for each year of service — to address what is referred to as salary compression — is slightly more than $450,000,” county administrator Mike Johnson said.

At the county’s retreat in March, the supervisors discussed the possibility of phasing the plan over a three-year period, with approximate first-year costs of $223,700 to bring all employees up to their minimum salary levels.

“The good news is that the proposed salary increases are substantially mitigated this year by a lower employer contribution rate to the Virginia Retirement System and additional state funding for salaries of employees of constitutional officers,” Johnson said.

Earlier this month, Johnson presented to the supervisors the draft budget for the 2017 Fiscal Year.

It is projected to increase by $1,958,204 from the $55,799,534 that was allocated one year ago, thanks to a proposed increase in the real estate tax rate (from $0.77 to $0.82); vehicle license tax ($23 to $28); and water and sewage fees ($26 to $27 and $34 to $35 per month, respectively).

While a majority ($1,386,133 or 71 percent) of the increased revenue is earmarked specifically for the Southampton County Public School District, the balance ($572,071) is targeted for the updated Classification and Compensation Plan; the General and Enterprise Funds; escalating costs of EMS services; and the Fixed Asset Valuation Report, the next step in determining whether creation of a joint Water and Sewer Service Authority with the City of Franklin is in the best interest of both localities.

“The initial draft budget for Fiscal Year 2017 includes sufficient funding to begin phasing in Springsted’s recommendations over a three-year period,” Johnson said.