Will public safety workers get a pay increase next year? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Will public safety workers get a pay increase next year?

Alice Smith says paying more for public safety when the price of everything else is rising is hard to picture Alice Smith says paying more for public safety when the price of everything else is rising is hard to picture
County Administrator Richard Crowdis County Administrator Richard Crowdis
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Are you willing to pay more to give law enforcers raises? That's an issue Dougherty County leaders will face as they start working on next fiscal year's budget.

The Sheriff and county police chief say they're losing good officers because of low pay. They want to give pay raises, but county leaders say that would result in a tax increase.

Dougherty County Police officers and sheriff's deputies hit the streets looking for fugitives as part of WALB's "Street Sweep" back in November.  Many taxpayers agree that kind of public safety work is important.  But it comes with a cost.

Alice Smith says paying more for public safety when the price of everything else is rising is hard to picture.

"Money is still scarce, because there is a lot of people not working, and those that are working, their salaries are low, and your head of household [is] trying to make ends meet, and some things, you feel like just need to wait," says Smith.

Recently, Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul asked County Commissioners for more money for raises for his employees. He says he's losing too many because of low pay, but County Administrator Richard Crowdis says the county always has a high turnover.

"Transition with people leaving is not anything new. It's not new to the sheriff, county police or EMS, or several other county departments. That's something we've been experiencing for several years now," says Crowdis.

County officials say the only sustainable way to give a pay raise is to raise taxes. Some taxpayers believe county leaders could find another way.

"They need to make a decent salary, but a lot of money that Albany is wasting on unnecessary things. They need to use that to pay their salaries, instead of imposing taxes on the citizens, because a lot of the citizens can't afford to pay extra taxes."

Crowdis says the county is just starting to review next year's budget. "Its always reviewed and looked at and discussed. The process is just starting so those will be looked at seriously in May and June," says Crowdis.

 

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