The agency is also moving ahead on opening a dental clinic for low-income patients next year.
The board OK’d the pay hike during its regular meeting Tuesday, while also hearing reports on the dental clinic and other matters.
Joe Palmucci, director of administrative services, submitted a $6.5 million budget Tuesday, up 3.5 percent from this year's $6.3 million budget.
The 2 percent pay raise is a merit increase, which means it's not given across the board. Supervisors decide whether the employee has earned it, Palmucci said.
Peter Schade, Erie County’s health commissioner, said the pay increases allows the health department to remain competitive in hiring.
“It’s what we could afford in the budget,” Schade said.
Board member Dawn DeMuth accepted the pay hike reluctantly, saying it wasn’t high enough. The department should award 3 percent pay increases if it can afford them, she said.
If every employee at the Erie County Health Department received the maximum pay hike, the total cost would be $46,000. Not everyone will get the full amount, however, so the raises will cost less than $46,000, Palmucci said.
Schade said the health department recently opened bids for dental equipment and obtained a low bid of about $223,000 from Benco Dental. The Mylander Foundation awarded the department $2,413 to help pay for the equipment.
Schade said the health department is looking to have the dental clinic finished by March, with an opening in May.
The department plans to hire one dentist and two part-time dental hygienists. It's seeking a young dentist now, Schade said.
“We’re talking to Ohio State and Case Western,” he said.