To address a police officer shortage and underpaid fire and police departments, Missouri City took its first step toward giving 17%-20% pay raises.

Missouri City City Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance providing salary increases to police and firefighters based on a recent compensation study during its May 1 meeting.

"Our citizens deserve the best public services our municipality can offer. To provide the best public service, we have to show the people who provide those services—our employees—that they are valued,” Mayor Robin J. Elackatt said.

The two-phased study begun in October included both noncivil and civil service employees. Each phase surveyed and analyzed salaries from various municipalities to allow city officials to identify options for increasing employee wages.

Study results demonstrated that the majority of Missouri City employees’ salaries were at or near the bottom of the surveyed cities. Positions within the police department were an average of 13%-20% below the market minimum and 8%-20% below the market minimum for the fire department.

Under the new pay structure, beginning salaries for police officers will be $65,237, a 17.3% increase from the current starting salary of $55,580, according to agenda documents. This new beginning salary will place Missouri City at No. 2 among surveyed Fort Bend County.

Firefighters’ salaries will begin at $60,484 upon approval, which is a 19.6% increase from the current pay plan’s starting salary of $50,557. This new beginning salary will also place the Fire Department at No. 1 within the region at the time of survey.

“Thanks to the results, we will become more successful in our efforts to retain and recruit the best and the brightest by providing competitive salaries and benefits,” City Manager Angel L. Jones said.

The estimated cost of the raises for fiscal year 2023 would be around $1.6 million. Missouri City allocated $2.4 million for FY 2023 in anticipation of these increases.

The ordinance will move forward with a second and final reading during a May 5 special meeting. If approved, the new pay plan will go into effect May 7.

"Implementation of the compensation study has positioned the city to retain top-notch talent and hire the most qualified professionals for the various positions to make Missouri City one of the best in the nation," Elackatt said.