Cobb County approves budget, employees will get more money

Cobb County employees will soon be getting a pay raise. Commissioners approved a $1.4 billion budget Tuesday which includes millions of dollars that will go toward pay increases.

County officials said they desperately needed to increase pay to recruit new employees and keep current ones.

The increase in pay will help bring the average pay for employees in line, or just above, what similar counties pay their workers, county officials said.

"We've had employees that are underpaid by about 8% market average at a time it's hard to get workers at all," said Cobb County spokesman Ross Cavitt.

Cobb County has been struggling to find workers. Of their approximately 5,000 full- and part-time positions, they have about 750 openings. Some are retiring, but others have left for higher paying jobs.

"Workers are leaving for greener pastures and we're not able to replace those workers," said Cavitt.

In June, FOX 5 reported on Cobb County's critical worker shortage. The Cobb County Department of Transportation was one of the hardest hit departments.

"Looking at our road maintenance, traffic signals, and signing and marking, we are 30 to 40 percent vacant," said Cobb DOT Director Drew Raessler.

The county had to use a million dollars from the contingency fund to hire private contractors to fill in the gaps.

County leaders hope Tuesday's vote salaries will be increased and the minimum wage for county workers will now be $17 an hour. County officials are hoping this change in the pay scale will help them find the right people for all the jobs they have open, and keep the current employees happy.

"We need to boost up not only pay but morale and this will go a long way to doing that," said Cavitt.

County officials said employees can expect to see bigger paychecks as early as September.