Wilson County officials could see dramatic pay increases with plan to raise property taxes

Wilson County officials could see dramatic pay increases with plan to raise property taxes

Many Wilson County department heads may get generous pay raises —as high as 62 percent — should commissioners raise property taxes 44 percent Monday.

According to the fiscal 2016-17 budget, the county’s Human Resources director, Von Barr, will go from making $50,000 a year to making $73,053. County Planner Tom Brashear will go from $62,403 to $80,806, and Codes Director Bobby Sloan will get $74,382, up from his current $46,817.

Brashear said Friday he had no comment; Sloan said information about a possible raise “was news to me.”

Randall Hutto (photo courtesy of the Wilson County official website)

Randall Hutto (photo courtesy of the Wilson County official website)

The county’s building director, the information technology director, the records director, the animal control director, the Expo Center director and Ag Center Director Larry Tomlinson may, too, get raises, among many other department heads.

Expo Marketing Director Charity Toombs said she had no comment.

Tomlinson said a hotel motel tax funds his department.

“I don’t have anything to do with that raise,” Tomlinson said.

“Those raises were proposed by the mayor’s office. They look at surrounding counties as to what people in like positions make, and they set those salaries accordingly.”

Sheriff Robert Bryan, who did not return a request for comment, will get an adjustment in his salary, which will go from $89,269 to $108,316.

County Mayor Randall Hutto, who did not return repeated requests for comment, will get a slight raise — $113,732 — over his current $102,264.

Those are among only some of the salary increases, as detailed on the proposed budget, available on the county’s website.

Wilson County resident Dave Kirkey said the raises are extravagant.

“A typical raise for most people today is 3 percent. It seems some people are lucky to get two-tenths of a percent of a raise these days. But that is an unbelievable jump,” Kirkey said.

Robert Bryan  (photo courtesy of the Wilson County Sheriff's official website)

Robert Bryan (photo courtesy of the Wilson County Sheriff’s official website)

“There are a lot of people who work for the county sitting in that meeting voting, so there is a bit of a conflict of interest. I think anyone who works for the county should abstain from voting for pay increases for their departments. It probably won’t even get brought up at the meeting.”

According to a recent story in the Tennessean profiling commissioners, six of the county’s 25 commissioners work for the county, including Becky Siever, Adam Bannach, Sonja Robinson, Gary Keith, Wendell Marlowe and Sue Vanatta.

As reported, County Commissioner Frank Bush complained the county hasn’t produced a balanced budget in at least a decade, and it’s high time to rein in expenses.

Several commissioners told Tennessee Watchdog no cuts are planned to offset the large property tax increase, part of the fiscal 2016-17 budget.

Dave Kirkey (photo courtesy of Facebook)

Dave Kirkey (photo courtesy of Facebook)

County Commissioner Diane Weathers, meanwhile, said the county school system, which will benefit greatly from the proposed property tax increase, has had too many cost overruns.

Many commissioners said the county’s population will double in the next 15 years, and more money is needed to expand government services.

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Commissioners will likely vote on the matter at a meeting scheduled for 7 Monday night. A public hearing, which will give taxpayers an opportunity to speak for or against the increase, is scheduled for 6.

The address is 228 East Main St. in Lebanon.

Thirteen or more of the county’s 25 commissioners must vote in favor of the increase for it to pass.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org 

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