The Ellis County Commissioners Court approved a two-percent cost-of-living increase for elected officials at its Tuesday morning meeting.

Paul Perry, Commissioner Precinct 3, stated the salary items passed with the understanding that the employees will get a three-percent salary increase in the upcoming budget. He noted a salary adjustment like this is vital in keeping highly-trained and experienced employees.

“We continually run behind what the private market will pay for a parallel position. So we have to give a cost-of-living adjustment to stay up with what is out there," Perry said. "We have some employees that are pretty well compensated, but with most employees, in order to maintain competitiveness with private markets, we have got to make adjustments right now.”

Perry stated the county is continually losing qualified people to the private industry. He noted that he recently lost a mechanic from his precinct barn to go work in the oil fields.

The two percent salary increase to elected officials includes $1,666 for Precinct 1-4 commissioners, $1,210 for Precinct 1-4 constables, $1,463 for the county clerk, $3,276 for County Court at Law One and Two judges, $3,300 for county judge, $1,463 tax assessor and treasurer, $238 for judges for the 378th, 443rd and 40th District Courts and the county and district attorney, $1,333 for Precinct 1-4 Justice of the Peaces, and a $1,816 increase for the sheriff.

The public made no comments when the item was opened up for discussion.

Commissioners also approved salaries, expenses and allowances for elected officials for the upcoming budget. The budget is anticipated to be presented to the court at the Sept. 11 meeting for adoption. The new budget starts Oct. 1.