PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO)-- Pueblo police officer and firefighters who worked through the COVID-19 pandemic will soon get a pay raise, according to KRDO's news partner The Pueblo Chieftain
City council approved the premium pay resolution at a September 13th meeting. Nearly $1.1 million will be allocated to those first responders from the city's $36.7 million funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
336 employees across two departments stand to see the boost to their checks. Every hour worked during the pandemic will count for an extra $1.50 in their pockets. For police officers that totals out to between $69 and $4,150. For firefighters will receive between $1,200 and $4,475.
"It’s authorized by ARPA, and it allows us to retroactively pay premium pay to eligible employees who performed this essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency,” Mayor Nick Gradisar said.
The American Rescue Plan act specifics that pay-outs like this can only be applied to those that fall under the essential worker category. Mayor Gradisar said since police officers and firefighters could not do their job from home, they clearly meet those guidelines.
Betty Jo Aragon, the president of the Pueblo Association of Government Employees (PAGE), said the premium pay should apply to workers beyond police and fire employees — people like emergency dispatchers, street personnel and airport employees. Aragon argues those general service employees' work is just as essential, regardless of not being sworn officers. Gradisar said he agreed, but counters that those employees are not exposed to the same public health risk.
Next year's budget proposals allocate a pay boost of 2.5% to PAGE.