DeKalb County to hire 250 emergency personnel, give pay raises

by: Liz Artz Updated:

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DeKalb County is looking to hire 250 emergency personnel. This announcement comes on top of news that all county workers will get pay raises. It was the outcome of the 2014 operating budget.               
 

The DeKalb County Commission voted unanimously Thursday to approve the $584 million budget that boasts a $47 million reserve. Thirteen million of that was money left over from last year.
 
County leaders thought that money would serve residents best with $1 million going to repairing potholes.
 
Seven new code enforcement officers will come on board and public safety will fill 100 firefighter positions that have sat vacant and 160 police officers will be sworn in. 
 
Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Public Safety Cedric Alexander told Channel 2’s Liz Artz he is going to move fast on making the hires.
 
He said filling the position is critical in maintaining service for residents. Alexander told Artz it will allow for more patrols and calls to be responded to more quickly.
 
"The more patrols we'll be able to do and answers calls for service more readily," Alexander said.
 
All county employees will get a 3 percent pay increase come July. Officials said employees have not had a pay raise in seven years.
 
The budget also includes an additional $400,000 for the library systems to purchase books and supplies.
 
Interim CEO Lee May said taxes will not increase and has vowed to cut 75 other county positions.
 
But projections show the raise, and other proposed spending, could create a tax hike as big as 25 percent next year.
 
The county is counting on growth at a rate of 3 percent per year to support the extra spending.
 
Other items included in the budget are take-home cars for police officers. Those details are still being worked through.
 
Commissioners stressed the cars would only be for personnel who live within the county limits.