EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) – In just a few short weeks, the minimum wage for Columbia County employees will be $15 an hour.
“One way to motivate people is through income so I definitely support doing that,” said Ashley Taylor.
Taylor is an owner and operator of a Columbia County business, Vibe Smoothie Bar. She hopes to make it big and Taylor knows the value of a hard-earned dollar.
She said, “Honestly, I think it’s really fair. Everyone needs to support themselves whether you have a high-earning job or minimum wage. And I think as a person with a family, it would be really hard to support them for lower than 15 an hour.”
The minimum wage increase comes after Columbia County commissioners approved the 2022 fiscal year budget on Tuesday but pay raises are across the board.
“We had to affect everybody in the organization so we could avoid compression. So, we worked in longevity increases. We worked in a cost of living raise and all of it was worked in together,” explained Columbia County Manager Scott Johnson.
How much the raise is depends on where an employee falls on the county’s salary matrix.
Johnson said, “We had to apply a percentage to the pay grade, everything from a 10 to a 21 to make sure we had the proper spread between each salary.”
County leaders and many others hope the pay bumps will attract and retain high-quality candidates. Especially in the sheriff’s office and fire department. While the county’s property digest increases, more funds are available.
“This year I think we do have the opportunity to roll the millage rate back again and this will be the sixth or seventh time we’ve done that in almost as many years,” said Johnson.
Taylor added. “I think we all deserve to have a basic level of existence and that requires a certain amount of income.”
Taxes are not going to increase due to the pay bumps which start July 1.
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