Pacific police officers will get pay raises in January from the Prop P tax approved by voters in April. But officials are still working out the details of how the funds will be applied to individual paychecks.
Ballot language said 100 percent of the funds that are passed through to communities must be spent for police compensation, but communities have devised their own plan on how to dispense the funds.
City Administrator Steve Roth said he wants to keep it simple and direct the money as it should be to officers’ pay, but he has to consider fluctuating tax revenue and the possibility of the city adding an additional officer in the future.
Pacific will receive its first Prop P revenue in January.
Roth said it would be irresponsible to spend 100 percent of the Prop money in January.
If all the tax money is applied to salaries in January, he wonders what would happen if the Prop P tax was less in the next collection period.
“We can’t spend budget revenue that we hope will come in,” Roth said. “We have to hedge. My recommendation will include a hedge. Sales tax can be an up and down game. The count’s numbers in 2013 were $1 million less than in 2017.”
Roth said he would bring a final recommendation to the board of aldermen soon.
Alderman Herb Adams asked whether the city planned to hold back money to hire a new officer.
Roth said Police Chief Matt Mansell believes the city needs to add an officer.
“Our recommendation is add an officer in the next budget level,” he said. “Total cost for an officer is $75,000 a year. Part of the cost would come from Prop P and part from general revenue.”
Adams said he would like to sponsor an ordinance creating a reserve for Prop P money to be ready when the Prop P pay schedule comes to the board.
“When the bill comes to the floor, I’d like to see a discussion on creating a cap,” he said. “I hate to see money build, build and not be spent.”
Roth said he’s also working on a pay increase for city employees.
“We can fund our existing operations quite well,” he said. “We can do a pretty fair increase to other city employees as well. I’d like to bring a bill to the board Dec. 4 and Dec. 18 and have increases go into effect in January.”