February 27, 2020

Elected boards’ salaries compared

In light of Board of Education’s salary increase request

Compensation compared for the three local elected boards

By MICAH HENRY

[Editor’s Note: This online article corrects miscalculations in the Dec. 18, 2019, print edition. A handwritten notation in paperwork supplied to The Times, denoting Town elected officials are “paid 2 times per year” mistakenly led to an accidental doubling of Town Commissioner and Mayor salary information in the print article. The Times staff regrets this error.]

A request by the Alexander County Board of Education (BOE) members to have a modest salary increase is awaiting approval, having been tabled by the Alexander County Board of Commissioners at their Dec. 2 meeting. The BOE first asked county commissioners for a review of their salaries in March 2019 and BOE Chairman David Odom sent Commissioners a second, more detailed request, with dollar amounts, in November.

According to state statute, the BOE’s compensation is set by the local taxing authority, which in this county is the Alexander County Board of Commissioners. (This differs from the Town Board of Commissioners and the Alexander County Board of Commissioners who each have the authority to set their own rate of compensation.)

Some readers have asked The Times to review the current compensation/salary status of all three local elected boards (Town and County commissioners and the Board Of Education). The information compiled below and the attached chart will hopefully illuminate the current situation for readers.

Alexander County Board of Education salaries

The last increase in pay for BOE members was on July 1, 2004, according to Chairman David Odom.

BOE members’ current pay is $120 per month (base), $240 per month for Chairman (base), $40 for each Special Called meeting, $20 for each committee meeting or planned visit. This amounts to $1,440 yearly base salary for each of six BOE members ($2,880 yearly for the chairman) or $11,520 of base salary total for all BOE members.

The members do NOT receive any of the following: travel stipend, mileage reimbursement, health insurance, life insurance, internet stipend, mobile phone stipend, or bonus. BOE members have use of a Chromebook computer while serving.

The BOE is requesting the pay for members to be:
Monthly meeting $600
Special called meeting $40
Other school functions $20

This would amount to $7,200 per year base salary for each member or $50,400 total for all. There would be no special rate for the chairman, if approved.

Alexander County Board of Commissioners salaries
The compensation information for the 2019-2020 budget year for the Alexander County Board of Commissioners is as follows:
(amounts are for the whole year)
Salary $11,000
Travel Allowance $2,400
Internet Allowance $650

The travel and internet allowances go in commissioners’ W-2 forms as allowances and are not dollar per dollar reimbursements for expenditures. Commissioners are not required to track mileage.
Group insurance paid by the County is available to the Commissioners if they choose to enroll. For the 2019-2020 budget year, the annual amounts are as follows:
Medical $11,758
Dental $371
Vision $73
Life $35

For 2019-2020, four county commissioners have all the group insurance coverage through the County and one commissioner chose to only have the life insurance.

Town of Taylorsville Commissioners and Mayor salaries

There are four Town of Taylorsville Commissioners and one Mayor of Taylorsville. The Town Commisioners are paid $6,057.45 each per year base salary, plus a 2% July bonus ($121.15) and a 3% Christmas bonus ($181.72). In addition to salary, benefits include FICA (about $486 per member per year), term-only life insurance while in office at about $300 per member per year (varies due to age-based benefits and cost), and non-group insurance compensation ($675 paid each quarter as a 1099; no board members are on the Town group health insurance plan), for a total of about $9,800 per commissioner per year.

The Mayor of Taylorsville is paid a bit more, with a $7,499.70 per year base salary, plus a 2% July bonus ($149.99), and a 3% Christmas bonus ($224.99). Mayoral benefits include FICA (about $602 yearly), term-only life insurance while in office at about $250 per year), and non-group insurance compensation ($675 paid each quarter as a 1099, same as town commissioners), for a total of $11,470.38 yearly.

The total Town Board and Mayor salary and benefits are approximately $50,848 yearly. If they travel, they are reimbursed at the Federal mileage rate. Town of Taylorsville elected officials do not receive laptop, cell phone, internet or technology stipends.

Comparing the salaries

One way of comparing salaries is to consider the compensation as a percentage of the board’s General Fund budgets.

The Alexander County Commissioners’ total compensation is less than half of 1% of the County’s General Fund budget (0.3%), not including water/sewer funds.

The Town of Taylorsville Commissioners’ and Mayor’s compensation is 2.6% of the Town’s $1,979,850 General Fund budget (not including water/sewer).

Alexander County Board of Education member base salaries are $11,520 yearly, which was 0.02% of the BOE’s $50,790,359 budget for 2018-19. The BOE’s requested base salaries would be about 0.1% of the yearly budget.

However, one might also want to take into account the size of organizations the boards manage. One way is to compare the number of employees which are overseen by the boards.

Alexander County Government has 464 employees (including full-time and part-time).

The Alexander County Schools system has 815 employees (including full time, part time, subs, and temporary).

The Town of Taylorsville has 23 full time employees (including three School Resource officers at ACHS, the Student Success Center, and Alexander Early College), 8 part time employees, and 4 inmate workers.

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