Amarillo first responders could see "much needed" raises

Amarillo first responders could see "much needed" raises
Source: Amarillo Fire Department
Source: Amarillo Fire Department

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo police and firefighters could soon be getting what the city said is a much needed raise.

The city's proposed tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year is just a little higher than last year because of the bond propositions voted on by residents last year and an increase in home appraisal values.

Those two factors mean more property taxes for homeowners and more revenue for the city than last year.

"As the city council we feel a burden to make sure we're getting as much efficiency as we can out of every single taxpayer dollar," said Mayor Ginger Nelson.

She said it didn't take long to decide where to spend that extra money, which is expected to be around $2.3 million.

"Public safety is at the top of the list as far as funding what we actually need for our city to have safer neighborhoods," said Nelson.

The plan is to put $826,000 toward the police department, and $677,000 toward raises for firefighters and all city staff.

"These are some pay raises for our police department officers in hopes that we can do a better job of recruiting new police officers and retaining the ones that we have," said Nelson.

The Amarillo Police and Fire Departments have had problems retaining first responders because benefits are better in other places, and hope this increase will change that.

"It helps us keep firefighters here, we don't lose them to other departments that have a little better pay," said Capt. Larry Davis with the Amarillo Fire Department. "Anything we can do like that to help us keep firefighters here is going to be a good thing for us."

If the proposed tax rate is approved by the city council in the next few weeks, these raises will go into effect October 1st.

A public hearing regarding the tax rate will be held Tuesday, August 29th at 5 p.m. on the third floor of city hall.

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