Nichols City Council approves pay raise for police officers

The Nichols City Council voted Jan. 13 to raise police officer pay for the first time in 10 years. (file photo)

NICHOLS, Iowa–Following discussion at the Dec. 2020 meeting, the Nichols City Council voted to raise pay for their police chief, Jeff Jirak, and any assisting officers up to $22 per hour, based on merit. For about the past 10 years, Nichols paid officers a maximum of $17.50 per hour. By raising their rate, the council hoped to make it easier to find officers to help with special circumstances, like outdoor events and speed monitoring. The higher rate will also help them attract assistance from officers who previously could make a significantly larger amount of money by working overtime or providing private security at sporting events.

During the public forum, West Liberty Public Library Director Allie Paarsmith presented on the library’s request for the City of Nichols to pay a higher subscription rate to allow residents to use the library’s services. The new rate would come to $12 per capita, significantly lower than the $33.44 per capita libraries typically charge cities, but higher than what West Liberty levied in the past. Paarsmith also hopes to make the library’s services more accessible to residents of Nichols by starting a bookmobile that would visit at least once a week for two hours and by getting grant for the library to allow them to purchase mobile hotspots for rural residents to check out. The Council seemed receptive to considering the rate increase.

In advance of the April deadline for their Community Development Block Grant, the Council has begun preparing to send out income surveys. After reviewing a template sent to them by V&K they plan to mail a survey to each house with the expectation that residents will return them by Feb. 15. They will then follow up with door knocking for any residents who do not respond. In order to have an accurate sample size, the city will need at least 115 out of the city’s total of 142 households to respond.