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Mar 15, 2013 8:27 PM by Andy Koen

Council to vote on police and fire pay raises

COLORADO SPRINGS - Police officers and firefighters in Colorado Springs are poised to a get pretty good raise next year. The pay increases were recommended as part of a comprehensive study by the Waters Consulting Group which was hired by the city to evaluate compensation.

Mayor Steve Bach says their sworn employees are getting the increase because their salaries have been lower than average compared to similar sized cities.

"We're under market on both our firefighters and police officers in terms of how we compensate them compared to other jurisdictions," Bach said.

Should City Council approve, all 420 sworn firefighters will see their pay increase by 7.4 percent, and 634 sworn police officers by 4.6 percent. Under those increases, starting pay for a firefighter (after completing training) would be $46,165 per year. Pay for new police officers would be $47,962.

The same study also showed the city is over paying it's other 1,098 employees. They will not face pay cuts, but the Mayor says raises aren't likely either.

"It's a hard thing to have to tell people that we can't raise your compensation right now because you're over market," Bach said. "The fact is that over these last years employees have continued to get what are called step progression increases."

Even with the step increases, many city paychecks will be lighter next year as the city deals with rising health insurance costs.

"Next year, we're going to have to ask the employees to share more of the health insurance premium costs, we have no choice," he said.

City Council is expected to vote on the pay raises at their March 26th meeting.

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