Council considering raising taxes to raise emergency personnel b - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Council considering raising taxes to raise emergency personnel budget

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City looking to increase emergency personnel salaries. City looking to increase emergency personnel salaries.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Officials with the City of Wilmington said one of their priorities is to raise wages for emergency crews.

Officials said Wilmington lost many of its police officers and firefighters because they're getting paid more in other jurisdictions.

At Monday's city council budget work session, city leaders added about $1.4 million for fire and police in the preliminary 2014-2015 fiscal year budget. The Wilmington Police Department and Wilmington Fire Department will get an extra $902,938 and $487,088 respectively to add to their budgets.

Mayor Bill Saffo said that the city was looking to increase emergency personnel's pay awhile ago, but had to delay because of the recession.

"This is a priority of ours and something that I talked about in my State of the City address, and is something that, we as a council, are going to take a look at very soon," Saffo said.

The additional funding for the police and fire departments is not just for salary increases. It also pays for new equipment, the mobile task force, and the gang task force.

City leaders are talking about increasing property taxes by one cent so they can give this money to the departments. City Council must finalize the budget by June.

A new Facebook page called Police Officers for a Safer Wilmington is rallying Wilmington police officers and firefighters to picket Wilmington City Council's meeting Tuesday. Its organizers say they want more money for salaries for Wilmington Police and Fire officials.

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