Council contemplating axing three interlocal agreements to unencumber cash for police pay raises

JACKSON, miss. (WLBT) – Jackson City Council could have found a way to give police officers a raise without having to raise taxes.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, September 2, at Jackson City Hall to discuss the city’s budget for the 2021-22 financial year.

During the budget deliberations, the administration and council held talks about a possible increase in property tax in order to finance salary increases for experienced police and firefighters.

However, this tax hike may not be necessary if several items that will be considered by the council on Thursday are adopted.

The council is considering repealing three agreements, two that would allow the city to detain offenders in prisons outside of the county, and one to pay the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office half a million dollars to provide additional patrols around the city .

If repealed, the agreements would free approximately $ 1 million in city funds and could be used to fund raises for corporations in the Jackson Police Department, their Jackson Fire Department equivalents, and communications personnel.

It would also mean the city would not have to levy taxes on a mill to generate the funds needed to raise wages.

A mill would make about $ 1.2 million a year, according to the city.

Council President Virgi Lindsay says she also supports the idea because the agreements were never implemented.

“They were never implemented for one reason or another, and as I suggested early on, this is our opportunity to take these funds and invest in our first responders,” she said.

The council approved interlocal agreements with Yazoo County and Holmes County last October that would have enabled the city to transport felons there and place them in prisons.

The agreements were necessary because Hinds County is currently unable to detain most of the offenders at the Raymond Detention Center under a federal consent decree.

Holmes County’s board of directors signed the agreement last year, stating that Jackson detainees transported to Holmes County Jail be screened for COVID-19 prior to transportation.

As of June, the Yazoo board had not yet signed its agreement.

If both are overturned, Jackson would save $ 500,000.

In March of this year, the Council signed a second agreement one to provide $ 500,000 to the Hinds County Sheriff to pay for additional patrols around the city.

The proposal was drafted and approved by Ward 3 city councilor Kenneth Stokes with no details being worked out.

For example, the city guides wanted the money to be used to hire additional deputies specifically for patrols in Jackson.

However, the late Sheriff Lee Vance wanted to use the funds to pay existing alternates overtime to patrol Jackson after their normal shifts were over.

It was unclear whether the terms of this agreement were ever finalized.

Sheriff Vance died in August after contracting COVID-19.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the council chamber.

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