Hannibal City Council approves pay increases for police and fire
HANNIBAL (WGEM) - Officials in Hannibal want to see their police officers and firefighters paid more.
On Wednesday, a special city council meeting was called to discuss how the Hannibal Fire Department and police departments could offer competitive wages for their current officers, and attract more employees to their already understaffed squads.
In a budget workshop two weeks ago, public safety salaries were the primary topic.
After hearing from police officers and firefighters in that meeting, some Hannibal councilmen came together to form a plan to get more money in the hands of public safety workers.
They worry if a solution isn’t found soon, Hannibal Fire would have to consider closing one of their stations and Hannibal Police would have to consider stopping the drug unit.
On Wednesday, the council proposed two long-term ideas.
The first is a property tax increase which, if approved by council, could be on the ballot as early as this November.
Second ward councilman Mike Dobson said that seemed like the best idea for a long term solution.
“Fifty years ago is when property taxes last increased,” Dobson said. “I checked with the county collector and the amount for 2022 real estate for the city of Hannibal is $2,128,036. The amount collected for personal property taxes was approximately $606,368.”
The second is a sales tax increase proposal which would, at earliest, appear on voter ballots in November 2024.
Dobson believes a property tax increase is appropriate because the last time that occurred was in 1973, councilman Stephan Franke believes a sales tax is the best option.
He said while it would take longer to get on a ballot, if passed, 40% of those taxes would be paid by tourists visiting Hannibal.
“Public safety sales tax would be pain in large part by people who visit Hannibal I like that I like when other people pay my bills for me furthermore it will generate more money than a property tax. Quite simply, that’s why I like it.”
In Wednesday night’s meeting, the council approved an almost 10% increase in pay for Hannibal Police and Fire.
That brings Hannibal Fire Department’s starting salary to $40,000 and Hannibal Police starting salary to $48,000.
Franke said this is a step in the right direction for competitive pay for public safety workers, and to potentially hire and retain more workers.
The Hannibal City Council will meet again at 6 p.m. next Tuesday.
Councilmen hope to come to a decision about imposing a property tax increase on the November 2023 ballot or a sales tax increase proposal in 2024.
Copyright 2023 WGEM. All rights reserved.