CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With the committee room packed with members of the West Virginia Association of Counties, the Senate Government Organization Committee voted Tuesday to advance a bill giving sizable pay raises to county elected officials.
Senate Government Organization Chairman Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, noted that since the proposed raises in the bill (SB379) would not go into effect until 2016, that would make it 11 years since the last salary increases for county elected officials approved by the Legislature.
"Is that the magic number? Is the magic number 15 or 20 years?" Snyder asked.
The bill would also reduce the number of classifications of counties - which are calculated based on the total assessed value of all properties within each county - from 10 to five.
Salaries for county commissioners within those five classifications would range from $28,000 to $42,000 under the bill, up from the current 10-step range of between $19,800 and $36,960.
The salary range for sheriffs would go from $47,000 to $51,000, up from the current range of $38,280 to $44,880. County clerks and circuit clerks would have salaries ranging from $54,000 to $63,000, up from the current $42,240 to $55,440.
Salary ranges for county assessors would go to $47,000 to $51,000, up from $38,280 to $44,880. Prosecuting attorneys' salary scale would increase to between $60,000 to $109,000, up from current range of $46,200 to $96,600.
The bill also proposes that, in the future, county elected officials would receive 3 percent pay increases every two years.
"That's to keep up with a very conservative inflation rate of 1 1/2 percent a year," Snyder said.