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Lee employees to get COL raise

LEESBURG, Ga. -- More good news than expected filtered down to Lee County employees after the County Commission's Budget Committee completed its hearings with department heads Wednesday.

Commission Chair and Budget Committee member Ed Duffy announced after a hearing with Lee Sheriff Reggie Rachals that county employees would get a 3 percent cost-of-living increase with the budget.

"After looking at the final (budget) numbers, we decided to include the cost-of-living increase," Duffy said. "Our employees are among the county's greatest assets, and we want to do everything we can for them."

The county's Fiscal Year 2011 budget, which will be presented at a public hearing June 8 and considered for final approval at the County Commission's June 22 business session, came in at $21,062,129, some $329,979 less than the FY '10 budget. Along with the employee raises, it includes no millage-rate increase, no employee cuts and no employee furloughs.

"Our employees are the face of the county," Lee Commissioner and Budget Committee Chair Bill Williams said. "One of the things we always want to do is look after them. We want to reward them for doing more with less."

Williams said the final budget includes a $600,000 draw from the county's $6.4 million fund balance. It also includes a $1 increase in monthly trash pickup fees utilized to offset an increase in trash collection costs. The county also plans to increase landfill fees from 2 1/2 cents per pound to 3 cents per pound.