"It is going to be a good step toward eliminating some of the hassles for veterans trying to secure their benefits," said Chambers.
Salaries are just part of the mix in a budget that includes rising insurance costs, utilities and capital expenses. The council is not surprised by the requests for more pay, but also is not ready to make a commitment.
"It's an overall thing," said County Council President Mike Myers. "We have to look at the rest of the needs for the county. We have to hear everyone's rationale."
Raises this year may have to compete with facilities in the budget. The council members peppered both the judges and the probation office with questions about the need for increased security. The Community Corrections office is preparing to relocate, and a committee has been formed to look at the overall needs for space in the county offices.
"Right now we're exploring options," said Doades. "We are in the very preliminary discussions."
The county has 186 full-time employees, including elected officials. The council has now heard the pitch for pay raises and will make a final decision when it meets to vote on a final version of the budget in two weeks. "I'm going to speculate that $1,500 may be at the upper end," said Councilman Mike Sprinkle. "Some deserve more, some deserve less."
"Overall the financial health of the county is good," added Myers. "I think there will be raises. These people are deserving. It just is going to depend on what the rest of the needs are in the county to determine how much those will be."