At a special City Council meeting held recently at Hazelwood City Hall, Council members voted to approve the City’s 2018/19 fiscal year budget. The approved budget gives a 1.75% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase to all City employees and another 1.75% salary increase to all City police and fire employees.
The 3.5% increase for police and fire personnel puts the salaries of employees more in line with the comparative salaries of employees working for other municipalities. “After doing a preliminary market analysis, we discovered that the salary levels for some of our employees, particularly in the police and fire departments, were lower or out of market when put side-by-side with a list of comparators. In an effort to retain the best and brightest employees on our payroll, City Council members agreed to give everyone at least a 1.75% COLA increase to incentivize them to stay and doubled the salary increase to 3.5% for everyone in our police and fire departments,” Hazelwood Matthew Robinson said.
The City budgeted to receive $975,000 after the Prop P referendum passed in April 2017, and $1.2 million in the 2018/19 fiscal year budget.
The passage of Prop P enabled these benefit programs, equipment and staff to be approved for the 2017/18 Hazelwood Police Department (HPD) budget: hiring of four new police officers; no civilian positions were lost; college reimbursement was restored; and funding was increased for programs such as D.A.R.E., Neighborhood Action Team and other Community Policing events. Additional improvements included five new police vehicles, a police motorcycle, new computers for several vehicles, replacement of tasers and mobile video recorders, and upgrades to the police station.
With the $1.2 million for the 2018/19 budget, HPD intends to retain 67 commissioned officers with no loss to civilian resources. The department also plans to purchase five new police vehicles, a second new motorcycle, and the replacement and installation of 12 new upgraded computer systems in select vehicles. In addition, the extra 1.75% pay increase for all police department employees will be covered by this funding.
On Dec. 20, 2017, the City Council voted to terminate its contract with the Robertson Fire Protection District (RFPD). Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, the City of Hazelwood will be providing fire and EMS services to residents living in the area once served by Robertson. Since Hazelwood only made a partial payment to RFPD in Jan. 2018 because it intends to sever ties with RFPD, the City currently has additional funds to accommodate the extra 1.75% pay increase for all police and fire personnel.