- Associated Press - Friday, December 16, 2016

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - The police association is Texarkana, Arkansas, said it is accepting a pay-raise plan from the city that it previously opposed.

The association voted unanimously Wednesday to follow the new city budget, which gives its members and city firefighters half of a pay raise in July 2017, and the remaining half in January 2018. That timeline is six months later than what they initially agreed to.

The city’s Board of Directors said the delay is due to insufficient funds to immediately pay for the raises.

The turnaround comes as the board prepares to vote on another plan to maintain pay parity with police and firefighters in Texarkana, Texas, the Texarkana Gazette (https://bit.ly/2hFT5Kx ) reported. That plan would have a 4 percent pay increase take effect in January. Any firefighters or police officers who don’t immediately reach equal pay would get annual 3 percent or 4 percent pay raises until they did.

Firefighters agreed to that proposal. But the Texarkana, Arkansas, Police Association, or TAPA, said a 2005 city ordinance that defined pay parity rules was specific to only firefighters, so it couldn’t be applied to police officers.

TAPA released a statement saying it was “seeking legal counsel to work with the city attorney and city manager in defining an agreeable definition of parity, use of parity funds, base pay, and establishing a separate trust fund for parity use only.” If those efforts fail, police will seek voter support.

The police association encouraged the public to attend Monday’s board meeting to support the police department.

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Information from: Texarkana Gazette, https://www.texarkanagazette.com

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