Sheriff’s employees to get raises; Grand Jury receives funding | RecordCourier.com

Sheriff’s employees to get raises; Grand Jury receives funding

by Amy Alonzo
aalonzo@recordcourier.com

Douglas County Sheriff's officers will receive 5.5 percent salary increases.

Commissioners on Thursday approved the raises 4-1, with commissioner Dave Nelson casting the dissenting vote.

The Douglas County commissioners approved two separate labor agreements — one with the Douglas County Sheriff's Protective Association and another with the Douglas County Sheriff's Protective Association Sergeant's Bargaining Unit. Both agreements include 5.5 percent increases starting on each employee's anniversary. The increases are effective in Fiscal Year 16-17.

The agreement with the Douglas County Sheriff's Protective Association also includes:

Changes to shift-differential premiums

Changes to overtime premium calculations

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An increase in annual leave accrual rates to match the levels provided to non-represented county employees

The creation of a bank to fund time spent on association business in exchange for reducing some annual leave accrual rates

The increases will cost about $400,000 more than FY15-16.

For employees represented by the Douglas County Sheriff's Protective Association Sergeant's Bargaining Unit, the agreement also includes increasing the top of the salary range by 8 percent.

There are 14 sergeants in the department, Undersheriff Paul Howell said.

Currently, their salary range tops out at about $93,000. The increase will bump the top of the range up to just over $100,000.

The increases will cost about $87,000 more than FY15-16.

"It's not about the money, but let's admit it — it's about the money," Nelson said.

"We have to have more money for infrastructure," he also said. "That's where our money needs to go."

Commissioner Steve Thaler, who said he spent 15 years in law enforcement, strongly disagreed.

"You wonder why we can't keep people here," he said. "Who wants to get shot for $20 an hour? Not me."

In other business, the commissioners unanimously approved $100,000 in funding for the county's third Grand Jury of the century. The money will be used for costs incurred by the jury. Court Administrator Bobbie Williams estimated the Grand Jury process will take about two years.

Commissioners also heard on first reading a potential 1 percent increase in transient lodging taxes for Lake Tahoe Township lodging businesses. About 400 businesses would be impacted by the tax, said Deputy District Attorney Zach Wadle.

The tax was proposed by the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority. The money would be used to study and plan for a possible all-season events and performance center in the casino corridor area near Lake Parkway.

If constructed, the venue could bring in more than $30 million per year, Wadle said.

Nelson said he felt the project needed a sunset clause so that after money was raised to study and plan for the events center, the tax would cease to exist.

Commissioner Larry Walsh said he supported the tax continuing on after plans are completed.

"I totally support this project," he said. "I think this 1 percent tax should go on … to support other activities of TDVA."

About a half-dozen people spoke in favor of the tax.