Ramsey County Board approves 2% raise
- Article by: CHRIS HAVENSsouth today
- Star Tribune
- June 22, 2010 - 10:45 PM
Ramsey County commissioners on Tuesday approved a 2 percent salary raise for next year.
They voted 6-1 in favor with no discussion on the matter. Commissioner Janice Rettman voted no.
Under the 2011 salary ordinance, commissioner pay would increase from $82,400 to $84,048. The salary for the board chair, currently Victoria Reinhardt, would increase from $84,975 to $86,675.
The County Board declined a 3 percent raise for 2010 because of the economy.
Commissioner pay is a touchy topic, and political opponents have made it a campaign issue. Most of the ire has been directed at a 25 percent raise the County Board approved for itself for 2008. At the time, there was little public opposition.
Four commissioners are up for reelection this year: Toni Carter, Jim McDonough, Rafael Ortega and Rettman.
The County Board must approve a salary ordinance by July 1 of the year preceding the one in which it would take effect.
In other action
•The board approved spending $159,000 this year to deal with the threat of the emerald ash borer to county-owned trees.
Ramsey County has 2,032 ash trees on various developed properties, including the Lake Owasso Residence, libraries, parks and golf courses.
Under the plan approved Tuesday, 80 percent of the trees will be treated with chemicals, and 20 percent will be removed and replaced. Trees in the northern part of the county will be dealt with this year, and trees in the southern part will be dealt with next year. Next year's efforts are expected to cost about $107,000.
The chemicals will need to be reapplied every four years, said Greg Mack, the county's director of parks and recreation.
The emerald ash borer was discovered in St. Paul in May 2009, and officials have been scrambling to put together a battle plan.
•Commissioners also approved setting aside $355,000 to begin upgrading the airflow system at the county workhouse after problems with tuberculosis transmission in 2008. The county could potentially face millions of dollars in legal settlements because of TB infections. The action approved Tuesday will allow for the hiring of a contractor to plan, budget and schedule the upgrades. The County Board will approve a construction contract at a later date.
•The Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority met after the County Board meeting and got an update on the progress of planning the $240 million renovation of the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul.
It's envisioned as a hub for various forms of transportation, from light rail to buses to bicycles. A construction contract is expected to be put together by late August, with light work starting as soon as this year and heavy construction happening in 2011. The project is expected to be completed in fall 2012.
Chris Havens • 612-673-4148
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