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During last Thursday’s budget workshop, the Mission city council discussed potential pay increases for the police and fire departments.
Following previous discussions to raise all civilian employee salaries by $1, City Manager Randy Perez presented information on how the 2020-2021 budget will be impacted by raises for the Mission Police Department and Mission Fire Department.
For 2019-2020, Mission PD’s base salaries were ranked lowest compared to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Edinburg PD, McAllen PD, Weslaco PD, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and Pharr PD. If the city approves an increase of eight percent, the Mission PD will rank third in local municipalities and fourth overall, behind DPS, Edinburg and McAllen respectively.
However, an eight percent increase for all officers in the Mission PD would increase the budget by $717,117.39.
Council member Jessica Ortega-Ochoa asked if it was possible to give the police department a four percent increase this year, and an additional four percent in 2021-2022. Perez said yes, it would have half the impact in terms of increasing the overall budget.
“I like that plan,” Mayor Armando O’caña said. “The four and four.”
Other council members agreed with the idea. An increase of four percent would increase the 2020-2021 budget by $351,976.19.
The Mission financial department drew up plans for the fire department, which was also presented at the workshop. Perez said the fire department has a “very well put-together incentive package for the firefighters.”
Currently, the Mission Fire Department is second-to-last in base salaries for entry-level firefighters: they are ahead of Weslaco, just behind Pharr and below Edinburg, McAllen and Harlingen. After one year experience, Mission firefighters surpassed the pay in Harlingen, McAllen and Pharr.
“Our benefit package is very competitive on the fire side compared to other neighboring cities,” Perez said. “We are almost identical, if not identical to McAllen considering McAllen is a larger city.”
Perez noted the fire department offers different education, certification and assignment pays that other cities do not.
City council discussed what an increase of either three or six percent for the Mission Fire Department would have on the budget. An increase of three percent would add $132,727, and an increase of six percent would add $255,887.
Ortega-Ochoa asked if Perez was saying they should focus more on making the PD’s salaries more competitive.
“There is a larger discrepancy in pay regarding the police department based on the information we’ve researched,” Perez said. “That’s what we’ve observed.”
The city will hold additional workshops and public hearings before approving the final budget in September.