By MATT KOESTERS
CLARKSVILLE — Clarksville Police Department officers can expect to receive pay increases in each of the next two years, thanks to an agreement ratified by the Clarksville Town Council.
The council approved a four-year deal with the Clarksville chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police retroactive to the beginning of 2011. The agreement includes a one-time bonus of $1,000 and 1.5-percent pay increases in 2013 and 2014.
“I feel good about it,” said Councilman Tim Hauber, who serves as the council’s police liaison. “It feels good to get it behind us now, and we’ve got a couple of years before we’ve got to do it again.”
Clarksville FOP President Greg Johnson declined to comment because he hadn’t been notified of the council’s approval of the contract. However, he did say that the FOP had ratified the agreement at a meeting earlier this month.
Effective Jan. 1, the base pay of first-class patrol officers is set at $42,853.73. In 2014, the base pay increases to $43,611.46. Officers who are promoted receive pay increases based upon rank, and officers with at least five years of service on the force receive longevity increases.
The contract outlines the hours of employment for uniformed officers, setting three eight-hour shifts. However, the Clarksville Police Department is currently experimenting with 12-hour shifts for uniformed officers. Twelve-hour shifts were implemented Jan. 7 and will be reviewed after six months, Hauber said.
“If everything works out and it proves to be effective, and there’s no safety issues, then Chief [Mark] Palmer will continue it,” Hauber said.
COALITION AGAINST TOLLS
The council unanimously approved an interlocal agreement with the city of Jeffersonville and the Clark and Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau to challenge tolls on the new northbound Interstate 65 bridge and the Kennedy Bridge, which will become a southbound-only bridge upon the completion of the Ohio River Bridges Project.
“I pretty much voted for it because if the tolls take place, it’s going to put a real hardship on our businesses along I-65,” said Town Council President Bob Polston.
Per the agreement, each of the three entities will deposit $10,000 in a tourism bureau fund, which will be disbursed by a board comprised of two members from each entity. Councilmen Paul Fetter and John Gilkey will represent Clarksville on the board. The funds will be disbursed when a majority of the six-member board approves expenditures.
Litigation is a possible use of the funds, but could also be used to educate lawmakers on the affect of tolls on Indiana businesses along the I-65 corridor, Gilkey said.
Jim Keith and Mike Kapfhammer will represent the tourism bureau on the board. The city of Jeffersonville has not yet ratified the interlocal agreement.