Carroll's Department of Public Works labor force has been bolstered by three additional positions.
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners chose to allocate funding set aside during the county's budget session in April for a maintenance technician, a building inspector and a road equipment operator.
Scott Moser, deputy director of the department, said he is pleased the commissioners gave the department the help it needs.
"It's been a long road, and this will go down in the ranks: They will feel better about getting the help," Moser said. "This is a start in the right direction. We took the biggest hit, so it's nice to get a little return here."
Moser and Jeff Topper, the other deputy director of public works, have already sent the necessary paperwork to human resources, and advertisements for the positions should begin in the next two weeks, Moser said.
Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2, said that while all the requested positions were necessary — there were more than 20 from Carroll's government agencies and allied organizations — Public Works was downsized more than most since the economic recession in 2008.
"Public Works was the largest department and hardest hit, so they need some consideration in that area," Weaver said. "Our role is to meet the needs of the county. Last year, we had issues with snow removals. Right now, these guys are going out and being held accountable to state standards."
The commissioners had originally appropriated $200,000 for new positions in fiscal year 2016, but shortly before they adopted the FY16 budget in May, the commissioners allocated about one-fourth of the $200,000 for an additional maintenance specialist at Piney Run Park. This would have left $147,000 for remaining positions, but the commissioners chose not to replace a position in the Commissioners' Office, increasing their total amount to $194,000.
The three public works positions will cost $170,900 in recurring salaries and benefits, and $61,200 in one-time costs for vehicles and equipment. The one-time costs will be covered by the county's reserves for contingencies.
Benefits for each position includes the costs of payroll taxes, pension contributions and medical plans. It costs the county an average of $17,500 per employee just for medical benefits, said Ted Zaleski, director of the Department of Management and Budget.
"This could be greater if we have to insure the employee's [family]," Zaleski said.
The commissioners chose to sit on the remaining $23,100 for the next six months and possibly fund half a year's salary for another position that is needed.
Other positions considered were a grants analyst for the Department of Citizen Services and a special projects analyst for the Department of Planning, but the commissioners chose to focus on shoring up Public Works.
Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said the board wanted to make clear they were not suggesting that any position was intrinsically more vital than another.
"As we go down the list and suggest things, I'm not suggesting one's more important than another, but perhaps [there's] a greater need in an area other than another," Wantz said. "That's why this is so tough."
Carroll County Breaking News
The commissioners approved the hiring of three public works employees. Here's what each will do.
•Road equipment operator: will operate a variety of vehicles, including snow plows, salt trucks and mowers.
•Permit inspector: will assist the Bureau of Permits and Inspections in keeping up with permit requests.
• Maintenance technician: will serve primarily as the county's second locksmith, but will also do regular building maintenance.
Source: Scott Moser, deputy director of public works