• September 18, 2014

Killeen council to discuss increase in police, fire pay

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Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 4:30 am

The Killeen City Council continues its discussions of the 2015 fiscal year budget in a special workshop meeting tonight, including a proposed increase to police and fire personnel pay.

The council also is slated to discuss the general fund.

The general fund is comprised of several entities within the city, including the police and fire departments’ budgets.

In the proposed budget that was presented to the council July 8, it shows the general fund maintains an ending operating fund balance of 22.8 percent, which is only slightly above what is required.

In September 2011, the council adopted the Fund Balance Fiscal Policy Statement — a policy that requires the city maintain a fund balance in all funds greater than 22 percent.

In FY 2014’s proposed budget, the general fund’s end balance maintained 26.14 percent.

Hilary Shine, city spokeswoman, said the 3.34 percentage difference is attributed to expenses related to a $20 million bond package that includes road improvements, renovations to the Killeen Community Center, construction of Fire Station No. 9 and general park improvements. The 3 percent across-the-board salary increase for all city employees, which was passed in June, also caused the general fund’s ending balance to drop, as will the proposed additional increase for civil service employees in the upcoming fiscal year.

CIVIL SERVICE PAY

The city originally proposed a 5 percent increase for civil service employees, but in the council’s July 15 workshop meeting, City Manager Glenn Morrison said the 5 percent increase may not be aggressive enough to recruit and retain police officers and firefighters.

Morrison is set to bring the council figures regarding the impact of a 6, 7 and 8 percent increase for civil service employees at tonight’s meeting.

A compensation study presented to the council last week showed Killeen police as 8 percent underpaid and firefighters 13 percent underpaid based on comparisons with cities in similar size to Killeen. The 3 percent raise implemented in the current fiscal year is included in the numbers presented.

Regarding an increase over the proposed 5 percent raise, Morrison said the city would “look for funds to cover any additional increases within the police and fire budgets first, but no specific funds have been identified yet.”

Shine said any proposed increase would have to be incorporated into the budget without reducing the fund balance to less than 22 percent.

The workshop will immediately follow the 5 p.m. regular meeting at City Hall, 101 N. College St.

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