LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Thursday the Lubbock City Council approved a resolution to increase police pay, but it's not clear where the needed money will come from.
Inside the Council Chambers it was standing room only as police told the City Council their concerns. "It's about being competitive, and we want to be competitive because we want that top applicant," said one police officer.
The Lubbock Police Department says it cannot recruit enough officers because Lubbock's police pay is not competitive with other cities in the state. To fix this, City Council discussed a resolution to work towards increasing pay to put the department in the top 10 in Texas, which means a pay increase of about 15% over time.
The police department came out in full force, along with family members like Melissa Price, to show they support the increase. "I want there to be enough officers to keep the city safe, and if they need more money to have more people come here, then I'll stay as long as it takes until we can get that done," said Price.
Every council member says they support a police pay raise, and they said they will work to get that raise in the next budget. However, no one could say where the money will come from. Mayor Tom Martin did say where it will not come from. "Those of you that are just itching to raise the property tax rates, you can just forget about it. We're not going to do it," Martin said.
Others at the meeting questioned if taxes shouldn't go up to pay for city services. "We didn't hire enough officers so my home got broken into and my flat screens are gone, and how much is that home owner's deductable going to cost? $500 or $1,000, but I saved $13 on my tax rate," said Lane McClanahan with the Lubbock Professional Police Association.
"They've been rolling back taxes year after year, and that's why we're in the situation we're in today," added Councilwoman Linda DeLeon.
The officers left the meeting with a sense of optimism after the resolution passed, but they say nothing is final yet, and it's up to the City Council to back up the passed resolution with actions. "It's not going to make any difference if they don't follow through with it, but if they do then I think it can make a big difference," said McClanahan.
The resolution passed 6 to 1. Councilman Paul Beane was the only dissenting vote. He says he won't vote for the resolution because he thinks it's just a paper trail that doesn't take action. He said if an actual raise is proposed he will vote for it.
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Police 15% pay raise plan comes back to council
Once again the question of police pay comes before the Lubbock City Council this week.