(La Porte County, IN) - The La Porte County Council has pledged to increase by $5,000 the annual salary of all Emergency 911 workers.
Councilman Mike Rosenbaum said the department had lost about one-third of its staff from workers leaving for higher salaries in surrounding counties.
The pay increase pledged last night and slated for final approval next month raises the starting salary for a dispatcher in the department to about $46,000, he said.
Rosenbaum said another $4,000 boost in E-911 salaries could happen when money starts coming in from the increase in the local income tax approved in April. The tax on LaPorte County residents was raised from .095 percent to 1.45 percent.
The estimated $13 million generated by the tax hike will go toward emergency responder salaries and other public safety-related matters throughout the county.
About half of the revenue will go to the county government, while much of the remaining dollars will be collected by the municipalities of LaPorte and Michigan City, officials said.
This will be the second pay hike this year for E-911 employees and other emergency responders whose pay to start the year was raised six percent. But, that increase wasn’t enough, judging from the high number of employees continuing to leave.
Rosenbaum said a second pay hike this year is being worked on for the sheriff’s office, down five staff members.
“I’m hoping we’re going to be able to do the same thing for our sheriff’s department. They have been long and faithful and chomping at the bit, also waiting to hear how we can help them,” Rosenbaum said.
Rosenbaum said a second raise was already given to ambulance workers to address high turnover.