By Michelle Guffey
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON – The duties that police officers and firefighters perform every day to ensure public safety are dangerous and demanding.
Belton city officials took steps to better reward the work of those civil servants at last week's City Council meeting, agreeing to raise the salaries for entry-level police by more than $7,000 and fire personnel by more than $5,000 retroactive to Jan. 1.
"When we did our financial budget process in October (2006), it appeared we had fallen behind in civil service salaries" compared with the surrounding cities, City Manager Sam Listi said, commenting that the city had set aside $200,000 in the budget for entry-level pay raises, which turned out not to be enough money.
A manpower study conducted on July 20, 2005, by an outside firm, performed a comprehensive market overview of the city's compensation program. As a result of that study, 19 months ago civil service personnel received a salary increase.
However, that increase turned out not to be enough when area cities raised their entry-level salaries for police and fire for Fiscal Year 2006 and again for 2007.
At the City Council meeting, the council approved a budget amendment of $67,340. That amendment coupled with the $200,000 that had been set aside was enough to raise salaries.
With the approved increases, entry-level salaries for Belton police officers will be $35,300, up from $28,300, and beginning salaries for Belton firefighters will be $33,300, up from $28,300.
In comparison, entry-level salaries in surrounding cities: Killeen, $35,568 for police and $32,448 for fire; Temple, $35,684 for police and $33,020 for fire; Copperas Cove, $35,000 for police and $32,000 for fire; Harker Heights, $37,182 for police and $32,967 for fire.
"This gets us up very close to the markets in the surrounding areas," Listi said.
Contact Michelle Guffey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7550