WINONA – In order to recruit and retain quality police officers at the Winona Police Department, the Winona Board of Aldermen approved a new pay scale for officers to make Winona competitive with surrounding law enforcement agencies.
The new pay scale raises uncertified officers from $10.50 per hour to $14.71 per hour; certified officers $14.71 per hour to $17.71 per hour; sergeants from $15.51 to $18.51; lieutenants from $16.02 to $19.02; and captains from $16.68 to $19.68. The new pay scale goes into effect today.
According to Chief Tommy Bibbs, Winona’s police officers have not had a pay increase in 11 years, other than three percent cost of living increases the board allocated to all city employees.
“[All surrounding law enforcement agencies] have gotten above us in salary, and that is why [officers] are leaving because they can get more money elsewhere,” Bibbs said. “The mayor and board are hoping this will get good police officers to come to Winona and stay.”
Bibbs presented the board with the pay scales from surrounding agencies. The starting salary for Montgomery County is $17 per hour, Carroll County Sheriff’s Department is $16.50 per hour, Grenada Police Department is $14.44 for an uncertified officer, and Kosciusko Police Department is $14.08 for an uncertified officer.
Bibbs said Winona’s taxpayers will not see an increase in taxes from the pay increases because the money will come out of the city’s current budget. Bibbs said the police department currently has six open positions, however, he eliminated two of those full-time positions to absorb 80 percent of the increase. The remaining 20 percent will come from existing budget line items.
“This board and mayor worked diligently to try and provide excellent service to the citizens of Winona,” Bibbs said. “I can only offer praise for them. They only want the best for the city of Winona and its citizens.”
Bibbs said the pay increase does not apply to the chief’s salary.
“The officers are the ones out there putting their lives on the line every day,” Bibbs said.
In other city business:
• The Winona Board of Aldermen unanimously passed an ordinance requiring all city buildings and residences used for human habitation or human occupancy to be connected to the municipal water system. According to City Attorney Adam Kirk, the ordinance was passed due to its importance to the health and safety of Winona’s citizens. The ordinance was proposed by Code Enforcement Officer Arlin Pearson learned Winona was one of the few municipalities in the state that did not have an ordinance mandating running water in all residences and businesses in the city.
• The city was awarded $500,000 from funds appropriated from the state’s BP settlement to pave Montgomery Street and possibly some auxiliary roads, depending on funds available.
• The board voted to amend the city’s Building and Fees ordinance to eliminate the city’s role in performing gas inspections.
• Winona’s recreational soccer league will begin registration in the next couple of weeks. More information will be released as it becomes available.
• Following a discussion in executive session, the board promoted Kellie Fox, who is the current deputy city court clerk, to city court clerk and demoted current City Court Clerk Rachelle Heath to deputy city court clerk.