DENVER - Local lawmakers have introduced a bill that will give pay raises to Montezuma County officials in 2011.
The state Legislature places counties into six classes to set salaries for elected officials. House Bill 1203, by Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, would put Montezuma County into the third-highest class.
Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, is the co-sponsor. Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, will carry the bill in the Senate.
"Montezuma County fits all the criteria, and probably has for some time, in terms of assessed value and population to be a Category 3," Tipton said.
He's carrying the bill because the county commissioners unanimously passed a resolution in favor of it. Sheriff Gerald Wallace also called Tipton to ask for the bill.
Under the bill, salaries for the clerk, treasurer, assessor and commissioners would rise $8,800 to $58,500. The sheriff's pay would rise $19,500 to $75,000. The coroner would get an $11,000 raise to $33,100. None of the elected officials would get a raise until after the next election.
Isgar and former state Rep. Mark Larson sponsored a similar bill in 2006. But another bill gave county officials statewide a raise, so Isgar and Larson changed their bill at the last minute to prevent it from taking effect.
Isgar thinks the classification change is still a good idea.
"They're in the wrong class. There are counties not much bigger than them that are a two, and they're a four," Isgar said.
Tipton said the real decision on county salaries rests with the commissioners, and he's carrying the bill to represent the county at the statehouse.
HB 1203 will be considered first in the House Local Government Committee. It has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.