Adjustments will have to be made to some Harrison's fire department salaries to meet next year's mandated minimum wage, the city's chief financial officer reported to the city council's Finance Committee on Thursday night.

CFO Luke Feighert said the minimum wage goes to $10 an hour next Jan. 1. The fire pay grid will have to be adjusted. Currently, the firefighter first position makes $33,000, but with the number of hours they work it puts them in a minimum wage crunch. "We need to get that updated."

City council members on the committee received copies of the proposed pay grid.

"We tried to do $1,600 for everybody and just move everybody up, but that did not work with the percentage increases proposed for each pay grid. It would have changed the percentage for each step so we could not do that," he said. The grid includes steps for fire fighter, engineer, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief and regular chief. The proposed grid ensures each would still be making more than the last step on the grid.

The 2020 general operating budget is being prepared for the Finance Committee and salaries need to be finalized, Feighert said. He is looking at a 6% increase across the board.

This is not a permanent fix, he added. The fire pay grid will have to change again when the minimum wage goes up to $11 an hour in 2021. "We'll get stated earlier on this next year," Feighert said.

Committee members agreed to allow Feighert to take the recommendation to the city council's regular meeting in two weeks.

Responding to questions from council member Bill Boswell, Feighert said the minimum wage doesn't affect other full-time city employees, as they are already making over $11 an hour.

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