The Lane County Board of Commissioners is considering a $15 per hour minimum wage for its more than 2,000 employees.
The County currently has nine regular status employees who make less than $15 an hour. They include custodians, office assistants, and fee collectors. The county also employs nearly 300 temporary or seasonal workers at state minimum wage, which is $11.25.
At Tuesday’s board meeting, Commissioner Heather Buch spoke in favor of the proposal, pointing out that people who make minimum wage cannot afford rent in Lane County.
“This is a way in which we as a county can walk our talk.” Buch said, “And say we care about our employees, not just about their benefits and our wellness center, but that they can pay the rent. I would like to see us as a board at least have a policy that we want to get people to that $15 an hour.”
Commissioner Jay Bozievich said he would not support a $15 per hour minimum wage. He pointed out that workers who currently earn less than that can move up the pay scale eventually. He also called the idea "A solution looking for a problem".
The board has asked staff to present more information on how much a $15 per hour minimum wage would cost the county.