Watershed Employees May See Raise in 2016

Shell Rock River Watershed District employees may see a 2.25 percent raise in 2016. The Shell Rock River Watershed District Board of Managers tabled the raise Tuesday night so it can go before a personnel committee and be re-examined by the board later this month.

The raise is based on a cost of living increase and a similar raise approved by the county in

September, said District Administrator Brett Behnke.

"Everybody in the office works very hard, and we wanted to show our appreciation for their good work," Behnke said. "You want to reward your employees for doing good work."

If approved, the raise would go into effect Jan. 1. Behnke said the raise would come out of the

Watershed District's budget.

Six employees are employed by the district, including Director of Field Operations Andy Henschel, Behnke, a resource technician, a conservation technician, a financial clerk and an administrative assistant to the secretary.

Behnke said more details on the raise will be made available when approval is secured. He said the increase is typical. Board member Mick Delger said the potential raise is well-deserved.

"A lot of people are getting that so i guess, I don't see an issue with it at all," Delger said. "The county did it; the state did it. These people deserve it, I think."

In other news, the district certified a $250,000 administrative levy for 2016 that would come from property taxes. Behnke said the levy has remained at that level for more than a decade. He said the levy includes a tax of $17 a year on a $100,000 residential property within the district.The district also approved a $250,000 2016 administrative budget, the same as the 2015 budget that covers personnel and travel expenses, to name a few.

The board approved an approximately $6.33 million 2016 non-property tax budget, a decrease from 2015's $6.9 million budget. The non-property tax budget covers various projects in the district, including approximately $2.06 million for the dredging of Fountain Lake.

Behnke said the decrease is due to projects the district had scheduled for 2015 being completed by the end of the year.

The board voted to keep its salary at $55 a month.

The board also approved an agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the city

of Albert Lea for the Stables area flood mitigation project.

© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007