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Demopolis City Council approves sign-on bonuses for DPD, DF&R

The majority of the April 16 Demopolis City Council meeting focused on sign-on bonuses and employee referral benefits for the police and fire departments. The council unanimously approved the bonuses.

The approved bonuses are a $5,000 sign-on bonus for Certified Police Officers and Firefighters, and a $1,000 bonus for city employees who refer certified officers or firefighters who hire with the city of Demopolis.

Two firefighters recently left Demopolis to go to Tuscaloosa, leaving the city short of officers. The city was reimbursed $17,000 for the remainder of the officers’ contracts by the Tuscaloosa department. The Council approved putting the $17,000 reimbursement back into the training budget for the fire department.

Police Chief Rex Flowers explained that training a police recruit costs $25,442.24. For firefighters, the cost is $27,101.09. In a written proposal to the Council, Flowers reported that the city would save $19,442.24 per police recruit, and $27,101.09 per firefighter recruit.

Mayor Woody Collins was highly supportive of the bonuses.

“Chief Flowers and Chief Williams both came to me, and they’re excited about it,” said Collins. “They finally have a tool to work with that they think they can use. I certainly hope it works.”

Councilman Charles Jones Jr, acknowledged that the bonuses would help the police and fire departments, but said that they didn’t solve the root of the problem. The problem being that Demopolis is losing officers and firefighters to bigger cities. He cited the pay structure as the cause.

“That’s the reason we have this mass exodus in the first place,” said Jones.

In other business, the Council approved a resolution to put a lien on the Plaza Motel property on Hwy 80. A dilapidated sign will be removed and will cost an estimated $2,316.

The Demopolis City Council meets on the first and third Thursday of each month at 5:15 p.m.