Home News Anonymous donation reverses pay cuts for police, firefighters in New Mexico

Anonymous donation reverses pay cuts for police, firefighters in New Mexico

Image credit: Artesia Police Department Facebook page
Image credit: Artesia Police Department Facebook page

A private donor in Artesia – a city of about 11,000 in New Mexico– will restore pay-cuts for over 60 police officers and firefighters. The mayor announced last week that an anonymous donor has “offered to make up the lost portion of salaries for the city’s 31 police officers and 31 firefighters.”

Last month, all 200 city employees had their annual salaries and hourly pay rates cut by 10% due to an economic decline in the city, rdrnews.com reported.

Artesia is heavily reliant on tax revenues from the oil industry, which was dealt a huge blow last summer in southeast New Mexico, after oil prices were cut in half. City officials say Artesia’s gross receipt tax revenues are “down 40 percent from two years ago, the 2014-15 fiscal year, and down 20 percent from the 2015-16 fiscal year that ended June 30.”

The monetary value of the donation is expected to be about $320,000, based on the city’s budget.

Mayor Phil Burch says this is the first time in the city’s history that a private donor has offered to assist with city salaries, but in some ways, he says, it’s not that surprising.

“I think Artesia is a unique little community and we’ve got a bunch of very successful people that are willing to share what they’ve earned over their careers. The companies tend to be very good corporate citizens. So, we’re just a very blessed community to be able to have this done to help us out,” Burch said.

While public safety personnel will receive their full paychecks for the remainder of the fiscal year, all other city employees “will continue to experience the 10 percent across-the-board pay-cuts.”

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