Walton County employees could see a little more cash in their pockets next year. The Walton County Commission is proposing the first salary increase for county employees since 2007.
They are proposing a 3% cost of living increase for employees ranging from Public Works to Law Enforcement. Many say the prospect of more money is a welcome relief.
Inside the historic DeFuniak Springs Library, clerk Terri Howard, checked out novels to avid bookworms. News 13 told her about the potential for a salary increase next year following Thursday's Walton County budget meeting.
This is one of several proposed ideas that the commission hopes will alleviate some of the burden a tough economy has brought in years past.
"Making more money in this economy definitely helps," Howard said.
But, she is skeptical that the raise will actually happen.
"If it does, it does. If it doesn't, it won't be a surprise," said Howard.
Despite the fact that the budget isn't yet fixed, county Public Information Manager, Louis Svelha, is confident that an actual take home increase will happen.
"We anticipate for everyone to see a little more in their paycheck this year, which everyone knows the cost of living goes up year after year. So, the fact that they haven't had a true cost of living increase since 2007, and to allow us to do this for our employees without having to raise the millage rate is good for the tax payers and the employees," said Svehla.
Svelah says increased tourism along with more confidence in the local economy can vouch for the board's decision to propose increases of county paid workers salaries and still be able to keep the current millage rate stable.
In addition to the potential for a 3 percent salary increase for all county paid workers, the proposed 2013 budget has a fixed millage rate at 3.5mills. Which means it will not increase next year.
At the Walton County Animal Control, employees are already thinking about what they'd do with the extra cash.
"I'd fix up the house a bit more, fix the vehicles, just general stuff that little bit of money will help with," said Kennel Tech, Charles Eastling.
Others believe a pay raise will bring extra moral to employees who've faced years of economic hardship.
"It's going to give everybody that little uplift, you know anytime that you can get a raise in your job, it gives you that little edge to do a little bit more," said Walton Animal Control Manager, Lois Marlow.
Walton County will continue to determine their budget in follow up workshops through September.