For the second year, county employees gathered with justices of the peace at the conclusion of the December Quorum Court meeting to hear about the state of county finances and what that meant to them.

JP Dale James told the employees that the news was good last year, but not so fun this time around.

He reminded employees that the county is still paying back a tax rebate to the state and that the economy is down.

But, even with that, employees still got some good news:

• Retirement contribution increased again, from 14.24 percent of the employees’ wages to 14.88 percent.

• There will be no change in health, dental, or vision insurance.

• Life insurance remains the same.

• Take home pay will increase by 3 percent for elected officials and 35 cents per hour for county employees. JPs did not increase their own pay.

James said the county cannot afford to hire new employees and asked the workers to help save money through productivity and efficiency.

James also provided the employees with incentive to observe safety at the workplace: If the county can go one year without a worker’s comp claim, James said, the county judge will preside over the December 2013 Quorum Court wearing a wig, a grass skirt, and a coconut bra.