ALAMOSA– A constant stream of announcements from candidates for elected county offices across the San Luis Valley may be partially driven by a bill approved in the Colorado General Assembly in 2015.
When Senate Bill 15-288 was enacted, it represented the first salary increase for county elected officials in almost a decade and up to a 30 percent increase for some, according to Colorado Counties, Inc. The bill established a new subcategory structure for counties that took into account local budgetary realities, allowing counties to opt for salary adjustments ranging from 0 to 30 percent.
Boards of county commissioners (BOC) in each Colorado county were given the task of determining the percentage of increase, but if they took no official action elected officials’ salaries increased the full 30 percent. New salaries will take effect when county officials are sworn in January 2019, with exception of those elected or re-elected in 2016 whose salaries increased this year.
The bill also requires the director of research in the Legislative Council to adjust the salaries every two years to reflect changes in the consumer price index for the Denver-Boulder-Greeley area. This was done in order to keep salaries on pace with inflation and not necessitate having to propose a bill every 8-10 years to increase county salaries.
A provision in the Colorado Constitution prohibits any county elected official from receiving a raise while in office.
With the revision in Colorado Statutes, Alamosa County Commissioners Darius Allen and Helen Sigmond went from an annual salary of $58,500 to $76,050 in January 2017. Commissioners elected or re-elected in 2016 in other San Luis Valley counties received 2017 salaries set by the bill and approved by their respective county commissioners in 2016 in categories labeled A- 30%, B- 20%, C- 10% and D- 0%.
Based on CRS 30-2-102, Alamosa County officials elected or re-elected this year will receive the following salaries in 2019 including a cost of living increase:
Commissioners- $80,737 (2016-17 Salary- $58,500)
Sheriff- $104,889 (’16-17- $76,000)
Treasurer, Assessor, Clerk- $80,737 ($58,500)
Coroner- $45,682 ($33,100)
Surveyor- $4,554 (’16-17 unavailable)
In addition, if the county treasurer also serves as public trustee that official will receive an additional $12,500, making that Alamosa office’s total salary $93,237.
In other SLV counties, the following 2019 salaries will apply (current salaries not available):
Conejos, Costilla, Mineral: Commissioners, Treasurer, Assessor, Clerk- $60,449, Sheriff- $67,764, Coroner- $13,663, Surveyor- $1,518.
Rio Grande and Saguache counties chose no increase making 2019 salaries: Commissioners, Treasurer, Assessor, Clerk - $46,500, Sheriff- $52,126, Coroner- $10,510, Surveyor- $1,168.