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Butte police seek pay hike to align with other MT cities

Posted at 3:02 PM, Oct 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-28 16:30:02-04

BUTTE – Butte’s police have been seeking a pay raise that would make it comparable to other cities around the state.

But some city leaders say the price is too high.

“It would cost the taxpayers of Butte-Silver Bow a substantial amount of money. Preliminary figures show it’s somewhere between about $350,000 and $450,000, somewhere in that neighborhood per year,” said Butte Commissioner Jim Fisher.

Members of the Butte Police Protective Association — including dispatchers and corrections officers — have been negotiating with the city to get more than just the standard 2% raise.

The Council Commissioner’s budgetary committee is examining the proposal.

“When you have a substantial increase like that you either got to raise the income, which is by raising taxes, or you got to cut the overhead, which is to lay off officers. Neither one is a popular idea with any of us at this time,” said Fisher.

The Butte Police Union has been seeking this higher pay grade after it looked at other departments around the state and determined that Butte police pay ranks near the bottom.

“We’re comparing Butte-Silver Bow to Billings, Bozeman, Helena, Missoula, and they all have 100,000 people plus; and Helena, which is close to us, they’re near 70,000 people, which is about double Butte population,” said Fisher.

The council is expected to review the proposal at its next meeting in early November.

– John Emeigh reporting for MTN News