Mineral Wells Police Officers Association President Nick Wells addressed the council on behalf of the city’s public safety employees, expressing concerns about comparable pay increases for police, fire department and EMS personnel that should be in line with a pay scale that matches other departments within the state which are receiving anywhere from a 10- to 27-percent higher pay scale.
“We are thankful for the consideration of a raise, but, at the same time we want there to be a partnership between us so that we may have a dialogue – a way to express ourselves,” said Wells.
The raise would amount to about a 2- to 3-percent increase.
“We are not trying to be demanding, but we need a comparable raise in our salaries so that we can continue to serve this great city and also be able to support our families. With a partnership, we would be able to work with the city in finding a solution.”
With the support of about 30 fellow officers, Wells reported that they had already lost one officer to a higher paying department, and another was already in the process of leaving.
“The city has been losing about a million dollars a year due to a decline in sales tax revenue,” Howerton explained. “The only way the proposed 2- to 3-percent salary increase could be considered was because there had not been a raise in the cost of health insurance premiums.”
The issue was left unresolved.
In the matter of the council members receiving new electronic tablets at a cost of $10,000, Mayor Mike Allen said that it would cut the workload of employees maintaining paperwork, not to mention the expense, and that it would be a much more efficient way of communication.
In opposition of the funds being used for that purpose, City Councilwoman Tammy Underwood reiterated that she felt very strongly that the department heads also deserved a pay increase, as she had suggested at the special meeting, calling it a noble gesture.
“The added expenses of the electronic tablets could be distributed among the department heads,” Underwood stated.