The Hall County Commission is expected to vote on a proposal on Oct. 14 for pay raises for the commission which would add up to an annual increase of about $65,000 for the county.
According to a legal ad regarding the proposal, the commission chairman's base salary would be raised to $50,000, while the salary of each district commissioner would be raised to $45,000. If approved at the Hall County Commission voting session on Oct. 14, the increased salaries would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
Currently, the chairman and commissioners are each paid varying base salaries. According to Hall County, the commission's current base annual salaries are as follows:
- Chairman: $8,629
- District 1: $7,060
- District 2: $9,260
- District 3: $6,887
- District 4: $8,839
Each commissioner also currently receives a per diem of $173 for each meeting they attend, up to 12 times per month. The current maximum per diem per year per commissioner is about $25,000.
If each commissioner were to currently take the maximum per diem, the proposal would give commissioners a raise between about $11,000 and $14,000. The per diem would not be included under the proposal.
District 3 County Commissioner Shelly Echols said she disagrees with the proposal, at least when it comes to the district commissioners.
"I feel like we're fairly compensated, and I think that being a public servant is about public service," Echols said. "It shouldn't be to make money or get rich or anything like that."
Echols said she does support a pay raise for the chairman due to the nearly full-time nature of the job. However, she said she will still vote against the proposal as it does not separate the pay increases by chairman and district commissioners.
County Cost of Living Adjustments would also be included in the commission's salary if the proposal is approved. Commission Chairman Richard Higgins said this change is much needed, as the current base salaries have not changed since 2007.
"From 2023 going forward ... 10 years later you won't sit there making the same amount of money that you made in 2023 and 2033," Higgins said. "The value of the dollar is much less."
Higgins said the act of being on the commission is also more involved than people think.
"You go to a lot of things, you make a lot of phone calls ... or you're going out and driving out and looking at pieces of properties up for rezoning, and that's beside the meetings," Higgins said. "It keeps us really busy."