Texarkana struggles to fund raises for police, firefighters

     (AP) – The mayor of Texarkana says financial realities are

making it difficult to fund pay raises for police and firefighters.

     The Texarkana Gazette reports that Mayor Ruth Penney-Bell told the city Board

of Directors that city officials are not cheating officers out of “parity” pay


     City voters in 1996 approved two quarter-cent sales taxes to keep police and

firefighters’ pay competitive with those on the Texas side.

     Arkansas-side officials had planned a parity raise next month, but have

delayed it for six months. Finance Director TyRhonda Henderson said fire

department raises cost $1.3 million in 2016 and police cost $1.8 million while

the taxes generated $1.1 million each.

     Police Chief Bob Harrison proposed an election to reaffirm the taxes, define

parity and put the money into a trust account.


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