Study shows Florence firefighters and police officers aren't paid enough

It would cost $1.4 million to get police officers' and firefighters' pay rates competitive with other cities, according to a study.

Posted: Jan. 11, 2019 11:13 AM
Updated: Jan. 11, 2019 12:15 PM

On Thursday, Florence City Council members and other city officials met to discuss a study that says police officers and firefighters are not paid enough.

City officials said Florence Police officers' starting salaries range from $14.35 and can top out at $22.91, depending on a candidate's educational degree. Florence firefighters' starting salaries start out at $10.51 and can max out at $13.98 an hour.

Florence City Council members said the study compared the city of Florence's pay to cities of similar size like Athens, Tupelo, MS, Jackson, TN and other surrounding cities. The study showed firefighters and police officers in Florence are both underpaid.

"It's a terrible thing to not be able to recruit and retain officers as best we can," said a Florence City Council member, David Bradley.

Bradley said during Thursday's public safety meeting, finance officials said it would cost roughly $1.4 million to bring officers' and firefighters' pay up to competitive rates.

"Candidates aren't considering us because they can go somewhere else and get more money. We were competitive 10 to 15 years ago and now we are not," said Bradley.

Bradley said over the next several months, the city will be exploring options and looking at the budget to see how it can possibly increase police officers' and firefighters' pay to be competitive with other cities.

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