BELLAIRE VILLAGE Council finds itself between a rock and a hard place.
The All-American Town is home to a superb police department, albeit an undermanned and overworked one. It is also a police force seeking a salary increase.
That sentiment was broached at village council’s meeting Thursday night, when a delegation of police officers expressed their pay dissatisfaction.
We are of the mindset that Bellaire police officers are deserving of higher wages. According to Police Chief Mike Kovalyk, they have not receive a cost-of-living raise in some six years. Moreover, he noted only one raise has been granted to the force in the last 11 years, while also seeing their benefits trimmed.
Over the course of the past few years, a police levy has been rejected by village voters on more than one occasion. The levy could have helped remedy the salary situation.
The police department’s frustration is intensified by council’s decision to give the three-member Board of Public Affairs a pay bump of $100 month. The move comes on the heels of the BPA assuming more responsibilities, such as overseeing the sanitation department.
The financial snafu has resulted in Kovalyk losing good officers, leaving for departments in neighboring towns for higher wages, better hours and a safer environment. You can’t blame them as Bellaire presents as tough of working conditions for police officers as possible.
We understand the tight budget constraints village officials are working under. Bellaire is by no means experiencing economic good times. Officials work hard to keep the town operating in the best fashion possible.
We are not privy to the inner working of the village operations in Bellaire. We have no doubt money, or the lack of it, is an issue in all areas.
We do believe, however, the Bellaire Police Department is in line for a long-overdue salary increase.