Less than three months after approving a 20 percent pay raise in an effort to retain its firefighters, the city of Denison is looking to offer a pay increase for its police officers too. City officials believe that the 4.4 percent pay increase will bring the department up to the current market rate

The increase was included in the city’s proposed budget which was discussed at the Aug. 5 City Council meeting. The council is expected to adopt it at the Sept. 16 meeting following public hearings on the budget and tax rate.

Those meetings are set for Aug. 19 and Sept. 3, respectively.

Denison City Manager Jud Rex talked about the recent pay raise for the fire department before getting into the pay increases for the police at the City Council meeting saying this was the right move for the city.

“As you know most of what we do is people,” Rex said. “We’re in the people business to deliver services to residents. We require employees to get that work done. As you know back in June we approved an increase for our firefighters, 59 employees total. That was effective July 1 and was an average 20 percent increase.”

Rex recommended a 4.4 percent pay increase for all ranks at the police department starting Oct. 1 and said the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant and assistant chief would receive the focus to get them closer to market pay.

“The goal overall this year is to approach market for all of our positions here at the city of Denison,” Rex said. “We want to make sure we can recruit and retain employees, this will help from that perspective.”

Rex said most remaining employees in the city would be looking at a minimum of a 2 percent pay increase.

Denison’s proposed budget of $28,801,050 for fiscal year 2020 is expected to be a $1,336,872 increase over the previous year. More than 40 percent of the budget is expected to go for public safety with the rest going to everything else.

Public safety includes fire police, communications and dispatch, municipal court and animal services.