City approves police dept. raises, considers new recycling position

JACKSON, Tenn. — At Tuesday’s city council meeting, over $1 million was passed in a budget amendment for Jackson Police Department raises.

“We’ve been in discussions about moving on into a comprehensive PayScale study for the whole city,” said Councilman Paul Taylor. “So they were kind of the beginning of this larger move to look at the whole city in its entirety, and how we compensate our employees.”

Starting police officers will now make $43,000 a year, and the top out time of 14 years is now compressed to 10.

“We did it as a due diligence piece with the amount of vacant positions that we have in the police department, it’s likely that we won’t even see a budget increase this year and our expenditures,” City of Jackson Mayor Scott Conger said. “Next year, we’ll have to plan for that. And hopefully this will give us an opportunity to hire those officers and fill those vacant positions. But right now, I don’t foresee a budget impact. We just want to make sure we did our due diligence and communicating we’re transparent about what we were doing.”

The council also discussed the solid waste fund’s proposed budget for a recycling coordinator. The coordinator would provide a recycling service and public education for recycling, and the salary and benefits for the new position would cost over $65,000.

“We want to make sure that whatever we’re telling people that we are recycling actually gets recycled,” Mayor Conger said. “You know, our health and sanitation department does a great job with bulky waste, solid waste, but we have to be able to pivot and shift to focus on being more sustainable providing that recycling option.”

The budget amendment was passed on first reading, and will be discussed at December’s city council meeting.

Plus, the street resurfacing approved at last month’s meeting is underway. Some of the smaller streets have been knocked off the list, and the city is moving on to bigger streets such as Old Hickory Boulevard and Vann Drive.

“We’re going to see some some improvements in some of those major thoroughfares,” Councilman Taylor said. “And our hope is to from the timeline that I’ve seen. We’ll knock out quite a bit of that here in the fall and in early winter before the plants shut down. And then some of that will carry over into the spring.”

Taylor says the engineering department is looking at an additional paving plan in the spring that could piggyback on the current plan.

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