By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Oct. 10, 2012 —
Olive Hill City Council met in special session Monday night to discuss pay raises for the city’s police force, ultimately approving all new pay grades.
Det. Bruce Palmer prepared a detailed presentation outlining specific expenditures for the department, including insurance premiums, vehicle maintenance costs, a proposed increase for officer salaries and other miscellaneous costs.
Palmer was able to demonstrate to the Council that with the proposed pay bump, the department would be able to remain within its budget allotment of $324,600 for the current fiscal year.
“If we want to be competitive and retain officers, we need to move in a forward direction,” said Palmer.
Police Chief Bobby Hall gave additional insight into OHPD’s current salary quandary:
“We spend about $10,000 training an officer between salary, uniforms, and other costs. It would cost Morehead about $17,500 to train the same officer.”
“So if Morehead decided they wanted to hire one of our officers right out of the academy, they would only have to write Olive Hill a check for $10,000 – which means they would save $7,500 and get an officer that they could put on the street immediately.”
According to Palmer, the advertised pay rate for an officer with the Morehead Police Department is between $14.20 and $14.80 an hour, whereas a rookie OHPD officer would make significantly less.
“I’ve said time and time again that these guys are underpaid,” said Mayor Danny Sparks during discussion of the proposal.
The proposed pay increase outlined by Palmer does stretch the current police budget as far as it will go, which prompted Council member Linda Lowe to express concerns about potential costs incurred from overtime.
At that point, both Palmer and Hall made reference to additional funding that they felt was not being appropriately allocated to the police budget – specifically FADE reimbursement money and House Bill 413 funds.
The two officers believe that the amount of appropriations missing from the department’s budget could total upwards of $25,000, which Palmer indicated would be more than sufficient to cover any additional costs due to overtime hours.
City Clerk/Treasurer Cheri James was not present at the meeting to answer questions regarding fund allocation for the police department.
The Council unanimously approved an increase to all police department pay grades, resulting in salary increases that range from 15 cents an hour to $2 an hour, depending on rank and experience.
The next regular meeting of the Olive Hill City Council will be on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m. at the senior citizens center.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.