Montezuma Elected Officials Could Get 10 Percent Pay Increase-- If State Legislature Approves

Aug 15, 2017

The Montezuma County commissioners voted 2 to 1 Monday to recommend a 10 percent pay increase for county elected officials. The increase would take effect only after the 2018 elections. Coroner George Deavers – who is paid $33,000 a year despite being on call around the clock –  told the board that only six of Colorado’s other counties opted out of any pay increase last year. He recommended a 20 percent hike. Clerk Kim Percell voiced reservations, saying her employees had no cost-of-living increase last year. Most county elected officials earn about $58,000 per year. Assessor Leslie Bugg said revenues from the county’s largest taxpayer, carbon-dioxide company Kinder Morgan, held steady in 2016 and the company will be paying more as the result of a recent state Supreme Court decision. Commissioner Larry Don Suckla said while he does believer the coroner is underpaid, elected officials have a guaranteed salary, unlike local farmers, and don’t have to keep regular hours. He said the issue should go to the people for a vote, but the deadline to get an issue on the ballot for the next election has passed. Commissioners James Lambert and Keenan Ertel then voted in favor of recommending a change in the county’s classification that would mean a raise of 10 percent. Suckla said no. The state legislature would have to approve the change.