Salaries could be increasing for MBPD officers

Salaries could be increasing for MBPD officers
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach officers may be getting a pay increase, but that means property owners will see tax increases.
Chief Amy Prock presented the market rate salary increase at a city council workshop on Tuesday. This new plan will be voted on at the next council meeting on January 9, 2018. If it passes, officers would immediately see a 1.75% pay increase and could be eligible for merit based increases up to 5%.
The plan also calls for 3% to 4% annual increases.
City leaders explain that this is an effort to stay competitive and help recruit officers to Myrtle Beach.
"I think when you look at the mid-career point, the folks that have been here 5 to 10 years, we're way out of line at that stage. Starting salary, we're a little out of line. This adjusts the police salary literally across the board, so they can catch up over a ten year period and make our wages here competitive. We need officers here. We need to attract officers to Myrtle Beach and one of the ways is doing that is to make them feel this is their career move is to make it worth their while. We need to give them compensation that is better than average,” said Myrtle Beach Spokesman Mark Kruea.
City Manager John Pederson worked with the Chief Prock to create this plan. They say the salary for Myrtle Beach Police officers is no longer competitive with other local agencies.
Right now, uncertified police officers get paid $36,000 and certified officers are paid $39,000. An uncertified officer is someone who has not yet completed the police academy.
With the changes, uncertified officers would see their pay increase to $40,000 and certified officers would receive $44,000.
"The last time council made an adjustment it was to bring us up towards the top of the pack of our competitors. But over the past couple years all of our competitors have adjusted their rate, so we're not in the bottom third again. So, this adjustment was necessary to bring us back up closer to the top so we can compete more effectively and more importantly, so we can retain the officers we have. We don't want to lose our officers that we have to other jurisdictions,” explains City Manager John Pederson.
This change would mean an increase in property taxes.
The newly elected city council could vote on this proposal as-soon-as January... 
“We've estimated the cost in the first year of implementation to be $974,000,” said Pederson. "I don't believe that we are likely, given our other service demands, to add officers in addition to adjusting pay, I don't think we're likely to be able to absorb that. So we would be adding that 3 million increase into the next year’s budget."
That means, a 3.8% property tax increase.
"I think that people, the general public, will understand there's only so many increases that the city can absorb. And when it comes to our public safety we can't afford not to do what has to be done,” said Myrtle Beach Mayor-Elect Brenda Bethune.
"It is a huge benefit because to me when you look at the cost to the city for something negative or bad to happen, similar to what happened last summer, that impact is much worse than having to raise our taxes at a low rate to cover our public safety,” she said.
Bethune says this is something she will think about in the coming weeks.
“We will have a lot of discussion between now and then about it. It has absolutely a priority for me personally, so yes, I hope so."

Council is expected to vote on this adjustment on January 9, and if it does pass, it will go into effect just days later on January 12.

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