South Point council votes to give police a raise

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2022

4-0 vote for $2 for officers, $2.50 for supervisors

SOUTH POINT — The police department in the Village of South Point will be getting a raise, following a vote at Tuesday’s meeting of council.

Council member Brad Adkins put forth a motion to give all officers in the department a $2 raise and supervisors one of $2.50, which passed in a 4-0 vote.

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Council members Mary Cogan and Michael Lynd were absent from the meeting.

Police chief Chris Mahjer said the move came about following discussions from the council’s police committee.

“We were able to achieve that goal last night,” he said when speaking with The Ironton Tribune on Wednesday.

Mahjer said a raise was necessary to help with officer retention.

“The academies are not putting out anybody and there are few left,” he said. “It has been a nonstop revolving door.”

Mahjer said his department has 10 employees, including a clerk. Four of those positions, including his, are full time, while the others work up to 39 hours and are part time.

He stressed that he was not included in the raises approved on Tuesday.

“Our ultimate goal is to make these retirable jobs and for officers to feel a level of appreciation,” he said.

The raises are estimated to cost $90,000

Mahjer said the police department is funded by two levies, primarily a “forever levy” for police and fire, and they receive a portion of renewable street light levy.

He said the village is already at 9.5 millage out of the 10 millage permitted in Ohio.

“We put enough tax on people,” he said. “There are other sources that don’t burden the taxpayer. The money is already there. The question is, ‘Do we want to release it?’”

Mahjer said some of the “elected officials in the room” asked about increasing the number of traffic tickets issued.

“Tickets do play a part,” he said of money taken in by the village. “But I think it’s foolish to say we have to go out and increase tickets.”

When asked if the raises could be funded without increased tickets, Mahjer said “I believe we can.”

“The budget money is there,” he said.

Mahjer said the raises will put South Point’s department at a better rate than most villages in the county and said he hopes it will keep the current officers in place, especially in a time of inflation and coming off the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve got something good and we were forced to act,” he said. “We were fortunate to get the consent of council and all four agreed for a plethora of reasons.”

In other business, the council:

• Heard from residents on Kitts Lane about an invasive bamboo strand in the neighborhood.

• Heard from Tiffany Lane residents who expressed concerns about street conditions.

• Heard from a resident who applauded the police department on handling a case of a hit-and-run driver.

• Heard from representatives of the newly-formed South Point Lions Club, who sought to work with the village on community service projects.

• Heard from Jay Farley, a local dentist, about beginning discussions on fluoride in the South Point water system.