ASHLAND, VA (WWBT) – Some good news for people working for the town of Ashland. You could be getting a bonus thanks to a budget surplus. Ashland police officers are also poised to get their first pay raise in three years.
The town of Ashland ended the year with an extra $600,000. Budgets have been tight in Ashland like many other places in recent years. Town leaders say now it's time to play catch-up and give employees an overdue raise.
Entry-level officers will get a pay raise. Other mid and lower-level town employees will get a $1000 bonus.
Faye Prichard is the mayor of Ashland. She says these pay raises are overdue.
"What we're able to do this year is kind of play catch-up," she said. "We're not giving raises and haven't given raises in four years and we felt it was important to give people something, something they could hang their hat on."
Entry-level Ashland police officers make about $34,000 and will soon get a bump to about $39,000. Still, Ashland Police say its officers will still make slightly less than the average metro Richmond officer. Local officials say they don't want to lose their officers to higher paying departments.
"It cost more to train a new officer than it's going to cost in all the raises we give here" Prichard said.
The police department will also get six new squad cars to replace part of its aging fleet. Many of these older cars need to be replaced because some of the repairs cost more than the value of the car.
"Our vehicles were in bad shape," Prichard said. "We were at that place where if we really didn't do something about replacing vehicles this year, we were going to be behind the 8-ball next year."
Ashland leaders say the town has been conservative with its budgets in recent years and credit a recent cigarette tax with keeping the town out of the red.
Upper level managers in the Ashland town government will not be getting a raise. The raises will only go to entry-level and mid-level employees.