The Knox City Council held the first reading of the 2018 salary ordinance during their meeting Tuesday evening. A three percent increase is being proposed across the board, with the exception of part-time police, which had a specific raise amount recommend by the Chief of Police.
Mayor Dennis Estok explained the three percent increase is being proposed across the board because of a recent insurance policy change.
“We had to change to a different health insurance company and although we saved about 70 grand by changing companies, the prescriptions and all that are different and a lot of employees are struggling a little bit out of pocket.” Estok explained.
Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston said the switch was from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield to United Healthcare.
Mayor Estok added that under the recommendation of Police Chief Harold Smith, the salary ordinance includes a raise for part-time police officers. Compared to surrounding towns, part-time police in Knox were earning less, making it difficult to motivate people to join or keep individuals on the force.
Due to the lack of part-time workers, full-time officers have been working overtime. Increasing part-time pay would help save the department money in the long-run so they will no longer have to cover the cost of overtime for full-time officers. In order to be competitive with other communities, they proposed an increase from $14 an hour to $18 an hour.
The council unanimously approved the first reading and will visit the 2018 Salary Ordinance again at their next council meeting on September 26th.