Some business owners on board with Linn County minimum wage incr - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some business owners on board with Linn County minimum wage increase

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(KWWL) -

Linn County became the second county in Iowa to approve an increase to its minimum wage, following Johnson County. 

The Linn County board of supervisors held its third and final vote this morning approving the increase. The final vote 4-1 in favor of the increase. 

The increase would mean raising minimum wage a dollar on January 1, 2017. The current minimum wage is $7.25. 

It is up to the individual communities within Linn County to move forward with the increase or opt out.

Businesses in the New-Bohemian District in Cedar Rapids are just some of many who willl be affected.

Some business owners in the New-Bohemian district say the dollar minimum wage increase won't be making a huge mark in their business operations.

Great American Popcorn owner Bill Rieckhoff says most of his twenty employees already make above the minimum wage.

"Most of them are kids, and the minimum wage is $7.25, but I start my kids at $8.00 so it's not going to have a huge impact on me," said Rieckhoff.  

Other businesses in the area agreed with Rieckhoff saying they also start employees at a rate above minimum wage.

"You know I want to pay a market competitive wage, and I want to get the best people I can," said Rieckhoff. "And so if I have to pay a little bit more, that's worth it in the long haul."

His business philosophy is one that was all too common among business owners. 

"You have to stay competitive, I think with wages, so that you do get really great employees who want to stick around," said New-Bo Mercantile and Vintage shop owner Sandy Rosenberger. "And when you get great employees it really helps your business. Your customers really want to come back, because they get great customer service. They see the same face, and that makes a difference."

Despite the general approval of the increase, Rieckhoff says there's still a holistic approach he has to look at for all his employees across the board

"One of the concerns I have is, if I have to raise everybody up a dollar from the minimum wage level, should I be raising those higher people up a dollar at each time?" said Rieckhoff. "It'll be a give and take. We'll absorb some of the cost for a while. But ultimately, we'll have to pass on some of that cost to our customers."

If the cities within Linn County decide to hop on board, employees will see a dollar increase each year. By 2019, the minimum wage will be at $10.25

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