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VOL. 129 | NO. 58 | Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mississippi Sheriffs to Get Pay Raises

EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS | Associated Press

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi sheriffs will get their first pay raise in several years, starting July 1. Depending on where they serve, the raise could be as little as $9,000 or as much as $20,000.

Gov. Phil Bryant — who started his career in the 1970s as a Hinds County deputy sheriff — signed the pay raise measure, House Bill 1409, on Friday. The new law gives more generous raises to sheriffs in smaller counties.

Each sheriff is paid based on how many people live in the county, and the law collapses eight current population-based pay brackets into five new ones.

Under current law, sheriffs' pay ranges from $55,000 in counties with 9,500 or fewer residents to $90,000 in any county with at least 200,000 people. Only one county, Hinds, is in the current largest category, according to the Census Bureau website.

The sheriffs' pay scale under the new law:

— $75,000 in any county with fewer than 15,000 residents.

— $80,000 in any county with a population of 15,000 to 34,000.

— $85,000 in any county with a population of 34,000 to 45,000.

— $90,000 in any county with a population of 45,000 to 100,000.

— $99,000 in any county with a population of more than 100,000.

Population figures are based on the most recent census, and under the new law, DeSoto, Harrison, Jackson and Rankin counties fall into the largest population category.

The raises will be funded by process-serving fees for a variety of legal documents, such as warrants in criminal cases. A law enacted in 2007 specified that a portion of such fees was to be set aside for sheriffs' salaries, and supporters of the pay raises said the fees should generate enough money to cover the raises. Opponents said some counties might not be able to afford the raises.

The bill passed the House 120-1 on Feb. 11 and the Senate 48-3 on March 11.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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