Columbia mayor wants police raises - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Columbia mayor wants police raises

By Kevin Wheeler - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - Columbia Mayor Reed Houston is pushing for higher pay rates for city police officers.

"They have been underpaid for years in my opinion," said Houston.

Certified officers make $10.85 an hour and non - certified officers make $9.50 an hour. Mayor Houston said they should get a $1.50 hourly raise.

"We need to do what we can to keep the qualified and the good guys here," Houston said.

Houston said Columbia faces competition against other small cities that pay officers better.

 "We do want to be competitive with our pay scales for our patrolmen, the ones that are already here and the ones that get here in the future because we still have a couple of slots open," said Houston.

Houston said he would also like to see many hourly rate employees get an increase.

"They all need help in these trying times," Houston said. "When everything is going up and the cost of living is tough with family obligations and everything, I think we're obligated to try to do what we can."

There were no raises included in the 2010 fiscal budget, but Mayor Houston said there are ways to make that happen.

The board of aldermen has not taken up the issue.  Houston said that may not happen until sales tax revenues improve.

"They need to know that we as a board, we as a city care about them."

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