The Cherokee County Commission continues to work toward a unified system of pay grades for county employees according to reports from the commissioners and department heads at Monday’s commission meeting.

Currently, each department has it’s own pay rates for employees and so a clerk in one department might be making less money than a clerk in another department with a comparable job.

Commissioner Jack Garner said that while reconciliation of the pay schedules will not happen overnight and will probably take years to do, eventually the pay scales within the county will be standardized from department to department.

Commissoner Richard Hildebrand said the new scales will be approved in December and effective in January, but stressed the department heads will be responsible for the time frame and implementation within their own departments once it is effective.

“We’re trying to level the playing field so everyone in every department doing a similar job is on the same paygrade,” Hildebrand said. “This is going to be a three, four, five year process.”

The county has also budgeted $76,000 for raises next year. According to Garner as of January it’s been three years since county employees have had a raise.

“We’re going to make sure people get raises,” he said.

Road and Bridge Supervisor Leonard Vanatta told the commission his department had saved the county almost $26,000 in the last month alone by using river rock to repair county roads rather than buying gravel. He said they have probably another 3 to 6 days to gather the rock and stockpile for the winter.

In other business the commission:

• Heard from Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Jason Allison that he had sent out a notice of intent to apply for a grant to purchase 10 storm sirens for rural communities in the county.

• County Treasurer Juanita Hodgson reported 2010 taxes are available and statements will go out by the middle of November. Hodgson said starting this year the statements will have a box for people to mark if they want a receipt or not. She said not sending out receipts would save the county money on postage and time. She added there is no requirement to mail the receipts as people’s canceled checks can serve as receipts.

• County Health Department Director Betha Elliot said her department has given out over 1,200 flu vaccinations and now has less than 100 doses on hand. Elliot said this is not a problem as other county health departments have surpluses she can purchase should the need arise.

The commission will meet again 9 a.m. Nov. 8 in the council chambers.