FOREST CITY | The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors has approved raises for county elected officials for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The raises for each position range from 3 to 4 percent, except for the county attorney.

Adam Sauer is leaving that position later this month to become an associate district judge. 

During last week's board of supervisors meeting, Supervisor Bill Jensvold said they will need to know what kind of experience whoever succeeds Sauer has before setting a salary for that individual. 

For the past two years the supervisors have approved raises that were lower than those recommended by the Winnebago County Compensation Board. 

The supervisors considered doing that again this year, but in the end approved the raises based upon the compensation board's recommendation of a 3.5 percent for the supervisors, 3 percent for the auditor, 3.22 percent for the recorder, 4 percent for the sheriff, 3.16 percent for the treasurer; and no raise for the county attorney.

Those raises will increase the following elected officials' salaries as follows; supervisors, from $29,994 to $31,043; sheriff, from $70,253 to $73,063; auditor, from $56,379 to $58,069; treasurer, from $56,291 to $58,069; and recorder, from $56,258 to $58,069.

The county attorney's salary will remain at $89,155.

Jensvold said the raises are probably deserved, but with the budget squeeze the county is in right now "it doesn't seem like a great time to have raises."

The compensation board came up with its recommendations by comparing what elected officials are paid in Winnebago County compared to other counties. 

Jensvold said he would prefer to pay based on merit, but Supervisor Mike Stensrud said there's no quantitative way to do that. 

Jensvold said people who have been to other courthouses have told him they prefer the offices in the Winnebago County Courthouse.

He said it seems Winnebago County provides a "more consumer-friendly atmosphere."

Jensvold also said the raises for elected officials are not that large a part of the budget. 

County boards of supervisors are allowed to lower the recommendation of the county compensation board, but they must lower everyone's amount by the same percentage -- except for their own salaries.

Supervisor Terry Durby said he would consider approving the compensation board's recommendation for all other officials but knock down the suggested raise for the supervisors.

Stensrud suggested lowering the compensation board's recommendation to 1.5 percent across the board. He said some people in the private sector are either not receiving raises or just getting minimal ones. 

The supervisors then discussed the possibility of not giving themselves a raise and giving the rest of the elected officials a 1.5 percent raise. 

Jensvold said he is willing to go without a raise but believes the compensation board is right and elected officials deserve raises for the work they do. 

Jensvold made a motion to approve the compensation board's recommendation as presented, which Durby seconded. The motion was approved unanimously.

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