Dunwoody considers giving police officers a raise

DUNWOODY — The City of Dunwoody is considering a significant pay increase for the city’s police officers.

Last month, the city announced a proposed property tax increase for residents. Part of that increase will include the raises for public safety employees.

The Dunwoody City Council is considering a second pay adjustment in 2022 that will impact all city employees, with additional boosts for public safety employees. If approved, officers, detectives, and sergeants with the Dunwoody Police Department will have received an average pay increase of 20.8% since December 2020. This is well above the 12.2% increase in the national CPI and reflects the importance of public safety in Dunwoody.

In adopting the 2022 General Fund millage rate, the City Council is considering an increase that would meet the statutory cap of 3.040 mills, which is up from 2.74 mills.

What is the Millage Rate?: The millage rate is your property tax rate. Your city, county, and school system all set a millage rate. That combined number becomes your overall property tax rate. One mill represents $1 of tax on every $1,000 of taxable property.

Council Members have indicated that support for the tax increase is dependent upon additional pay raises for public safety. The proposed increase is designed to keep Dunwoody Police competitive at a time when law enforcement agencies nationwide are facing challenges with recruitment and retention.

The Budget Committee is comprised of Councilmembers Stacey Harris, Joe Seconder and Tom Lambert. During their most recent meeting on July 1, they voted unanimously to recommend to the full Council a 6% raise for all police officers, detectives, sergeants and lieutenants. These increases are on top of the citywide adjustments of 3% at the start of 2022. All other city personnel would receive a 4% raise under the current proposal.

The millage rate adjustment and public safety pay raise are on the agenda for the next Dunwoody City Council meeting on July 11 at 6 p.m. If approved, the pay increases would be retroactive to the first pay period after July 1, 2022. The Dunwoody Budget Committee recommends two additional benefit enhancements:

  1. The monthly housing stipend for police officers who live in Dunwoody would increase to $800 a month from $700
  2. All new City employees would be able to take vacation earlier by starting their jobs with three vacation days on the books before accruing them

Dunwoody Police offer a competitive pack of benefits that includes the following:

  • Take-home vehicle program
  • 100% city-paid employee medical coverage immediately
  • 90% city-paid family medical coverage immediately
  • Employer retirement contribution up to 21.2%
  • $6,000 signing bonus
  • 100% city-paid life insurance, AD & D, and short and long-term disability insurance
  • Up to $4,000 tuition assistance annually
  • Free fitness center membership
  • Paid monthly POAB (Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Georgia) dues for officers
  • 14 paid holidays
  • $2,500 in additional pay for SWAT operators
  • $200 longevity pay per year of service starting after 5 years

During the July 11 meeting, Dunwoody City Council will also consider a proposal to authorize the City Manager to implement specialized unit pay of $4,000 annually. This would create additional demand for specialized units, including the Crime Response Team, Community Outreach, K9 and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group. This additional funding will come from the 2022 budget.

Why It Matters: While much attention is given to national politics and the workings of Congress and the White House, local government meetings are where the decisions that impact your daily life are made. City Council, County Commission and School Board Meetings are where your elected leaders decide the issues that most effect your family and your community.

Each week, the Georgia Sun highlights some of the meetings you need to know about in your local community to keep you informed and to make sure you know what decisions your elected officials are considering.

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