HomeNewsCity Council approves raises for JPD

City Council approves raises for JPD

The Jackson City Council had their regular monthly meeting Tuesday morning, and the group got a few things accomplished for the City of Jackson.

Possibly the most significant is a pay raise for all Jackson Police Officers below leadership-level positions.

During agenda review on Thursday, JPD Chief Thom Corley explained to the Council that Jackson is on par with many of the local law enforcement agencies surrounding Jackson that have lower call volume and fewer people to work with, which means essentially a smaller workload and less on-the-job danger.

To compare Jackson to similar markets, starting pay for police officers in Murfreesboro is $54,000 per year. Jackson is presently $46,000. Corley and financial manager Bobby Arnold brought a budget amendment to the council for $345,000 to offset the cost of giving all patrol officers a raise to $53,000.

Arnold explained that the total cost of the raises plus benefits is $1,000,050, and $745,000 is already budgeted for officer pay raises, so the budget amendment is making up the difference from fund balance.

The Council unanimously supported it with a number of verbal endorsements of the move during the discussion from council members.

The Council also avoided a change in wording for a total ban on chicken manure within city limits. During agenda review, council members, Conger and members of his leadership staff all commented on the number of calls they’d received in recent weeks with complaints of chicken manure being used throughout the city for yard fertilization purposes.

The code committee and the City’s legal counsel looked at the code and put together wording that would take care of the problem, but is worded in a way that if the Council ever decides to amend the ordinance to allow certain chicken manure products, they have that option.

The procurement code was amended, raising the total needed for permission from the Council to make purchases from $10,000 to $25,000 because inflation rates are making it more difficult to make purchases for many needed items for many City departments without waiting until the next Council meeting for approval.

The Council unanimously approved a traffic study on Old Humboldt Road near the Highway 45 Bypass and the expected effects of a couple of apartment complexes that are being built nearby on the access road parallel to the bypass, Nolan Park development at the intersection and the planned new Pope School on Ashport Road about a mile away from the intersection. City Planner Stan Pilant said the study should take about four months, and the cost is $38,000.

Other things that were approved around the city were sidewalk design, extension of the contract with Shotspotter that helps JPD with shooting incidents and crimes, shade structures at the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex and a total of $185,000 to help three non-profits – Area Relief Ministries, The Dream Center and Salvation Army.

Great Wolf Lodge is interested in purchasing more land for its upcoming construction across Ridgecrest Drive from Jackson Baseball Stadium. They’re asking for about 2.36 more acres near Ridgecrest for parking and other things on the edge of its property and could ask for more in the future.

“I’m glad we were able to do this vote so that maybe this will answer the question for all the people asking if Great Wolf Lodge is still coming,” said Councilman Johnny Dodd after the vote, referencing constant questioning of the project to City officials and on social media.

Conger confirmed after the meeting that everything is still in line for Great Wolf Lodge to come to Jackson. They’re just not obligated to break ground on the construction until the end of 2024.

Steve Smith, the director of McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport, gave an update on the airport after the Council approved an EDA grant for it. A study by The Greater Jackson Chamber suggests that Ford and Blue Oval City will bring 8,000 passengers through an airport a year once they’re up and going. Smith said they’re working to ensure they choose Jackson airport over Memphis. He also confirmed for Councilman Richard Donnell that they’re working to bring jet service back to Jackson.

There was some back-and-forth in the meeting’s final minutes when the Council voted on committee appointments. Candace Busby wanted to amend the budget committee and replace Julie Holt with Larry Lowrance. Holt asked why, and Busby said Lowrance’s experience with budgeting warrants him being on the committee. Holt said she has the credentials to be on there because of her degree in accounting. The budget failed by a vote of 6-3. The committee appointments as is were approved by a vote of 8-1.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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