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City employees in Mission will be seeing raises in the upcoming fiscal year.
On Mon. Sept. 14, the city of Mission approved the 2020-2021 budget and tax rate. They also discussed how pay increases will be implemented for civilian employees and first responders.
Perez presented the item on adopting the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget for the city during the meeting. The total budget was set at $115,132,984, with approximately $51 million in the general fund and $21 million in the utility fund.
During a workshop held the week before the city council meeting, council discussed several different plans with incentives and benefits for employees in Mission. This followed several other workshops, in which they gave feedback to City Manager Randy Perez on what would be possible and the best overall decision for employees.
Previously, the council had considered a $1 increase to all civilian employees, as well as a 6 percent raise for the police department and 3 percent raise for the fire department.
During the workshop, Perez presented several plans. After some discussion, council had narrowed the options down to letters H, K, and L, which Perez broke down in detail.
Option H included a 3 percent raise for civilians, 8 percent raise for the police department and 3 percent for the fire department.
Option K included a $1 increase for civilian employees, a 3 percent raise for directors, and raises for both the police and fire departments.
Option L included a $1 increase for civilian employees, seniority/longevity pay for those with 20 years or more of experience with Mission, an 8 percent raise for the police department and no raises for the fire department.
City council members debated on whether or not they should give raises to the fire department, and said they should not be excluded. Mayor Armando O’caña said civilian fire department employees would be eligible for the raise, and in previous years had increased wages with the intent to wait a few years before doing so again.
Perez said Option C had a similar layout, with increases to fire and police, but the director raises would only be $1. Mayor Pro-Tem Norie Gonzalez Garza agreed C was similar to Option K, but noted Mission directors have not received a raise in three years.
With the $1 increase, Mission will be bringing minimum wages from $10.50 (previously raised $1 last year) to $11.50 per hour.
Perez noted Option K was the most impactful in terms of employees receiving an increase, considering 3 percent for directors and $1 for civilian employees would equate to a nearly 10 percent raise for civilians. The raise only applies to full-time employees.
Council member Jessica Ortega-Ochoa said she would like to assess the directors’ salaries, citing that several employees are acting in a director position while not holding the title, and certain directors don’t drive enough to utilize their transportation stipend.
During the meeting held Sept. 14, council approved the increases for civilian employees, as well as the Mission PD and fire department. The raises for both departments also included increased benefits and incentive packages for education, emergency medication services training, longevity, certifications and seniority pay.
Civil Service Director Jesse Lerma said the city of Mission is providing an extensive incentive package to firefighters.
“This incentive package is probably one of the best in the state of Texas when you compare it to any other incentive packages provided for civil servants in the fire department,” Lerma said, noting the incentive package for the police department is also quite competitive. “It’s a very good package for our fire department.”
O’caña asked if hazard pay was also considered, but Lerma said it was not presented to the commission at the time. Mission Fire Chief Gilbert Sanchez said with the packages, Mission is competitive with neighboring municipalities such as Pharr, Weslaco and Edinburg.
Full-time city employees will see a $1 salary increase for minimum wage, and city directors will receive a raise. The Mission police department will be receiving incentive packages, with an eight percent salary increase.
Perez said this makes Mission PD salaries the third-highest in the region when compared to other cities/municipalities, excluding the Texas Department of Public Safety.