BUTTE- The Council of Commissioners voted at Wednesday night's city council meeting to increase the pay of Butte's police officers.
The council voted 8-4 in favor of the contract that will increase Butte officer's pay. The contract will come with a two percent initial pay increase followed by additional increases in July. The contract is called the matrix system.
Police Officers and one citizen spoke at the council meeting in favor of the matrix system. Chief Executive Dave Palmer presented the plan to the council members.
The Butte police union said they hope the council can find the pay increases in their budget without raising taxes.
The 2-percent raise will go into effect immediately and union representatives said the council will have until July to reevaluate their budget. The first matrix pay increase will go into effect July 1st.
The Matrix System is designed to bring Butte police pay in line with other cities of similar size across Montana. Currently, Missoula and Bozeman officers are among the highest-paid, with Butte, Billings, Helena and Great Falls behind.
Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester said he is thrilled for his officers. "it's only fair they're compensated at least in the ball park of other departments," said Sheriff Lester.
Butte police currently start at wages of about $26 an hour.
The union negotiated the new contract with Palmer and the Human Resource department for months.
Police officer and union president Ryan Hardy said it's a happy ending for Butte police.