Flagler County’s constitutional officers, who account for some of the highest paid local government officials, will be getting modest raises averaging less than half a percent come October, according to calculations released last week by the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
The highest paid constitutional officer remains the sheriff, whose salary will increase $523, to $125,641, a 0.4 percent increase. The clerk of court, tax collector and property appraiser will each have a $500 raise in their annual salary of $116,701. The supervisor of elections will see her salary increase $440, to $98,330.
The five county commissioners’ salaries will go up just over $300, to $50,533, and school board members’ salaries will go up $134, to $31,774. Since 2009 and 2011 Florida law has enabled constitutional officers and school board members to voluntarily reduce their salaries. That has not happened in Flagler County. Such voluntary reductions are rare across the state, though Bunnell city commissioners, who are not constitutional officers, voted themselves a 10 percent pay decrease earlier this summer as part of broad budget cuts to close a $1 million gap.
Proportionately speaking, and since voting themselves a doubling of their salary in 2009–bringing their salaries in line with Palm Coast council members’ salaries–Bunnell commissioners are the mayor are still the highest paid local public officials, making $2.88 per resident. That compares to 13 cents per resident for Palm Coast council members and $1.28 per resident for the sheriff.
The roughly 0.4 percent raises are less than a quarter the rate of inflation, so in effect constitutional officers are losing ground in purchasing power.
Since 1973, the Legislature has required that constitutional officers’ salaries be set by the state, based mostly on a county’s population. The Office of Economic and Demographic Research estimates Flagler County’s population to be at 97,843. The Census Bureau places Flagler’s estimated population in 2013 at 99,956.
The state sets the salaries, but local government pays them. In the aggregate, constitutional officers (not including cities’ elected officials) cost taxpayers $985,609, not including benefits. That roughly adds a third to the cost. When the $140,406 in salaries to city elected officials is added to the figure, the combined total, for elected officials in Flagler County, stands at $1.13 million for the coming year, not including benefits.
According to the Census Bureau, the median household income in Flagler County was $48,138 between 2008 and 20012.
Salaries of Flagler's Constitutional Officers and Elected City Officials, 2014-15
|Circuit Clerk (Gail Wadsworth)|
|Property Appraiser (Jay Gardner)|
|Tax Collector (Suzanne Johnston)|
|Supervisor of Elections (Kim Weeks)|
|Sheriff (Jim Manfre)|
|Palm Coast Mayor (Jon Netts)|
|Palm Coast Council|
|Flagler Beach Mayor (Linda Provencher)|
|Flagler Beach Commissioners|
|Bunnell Mayor (Catherine Robinson)|