TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – On Tuesday, the Texarkana, Ark. Board of Directors agreed to settle with a group suing them over an issue known as pay parity.
The issue involved keeping pay the same for first responders on both sides of the state line in Texarkana. A tax, dedicated to funding salaries on the Arkansas-side was passed by voters in 1996. But, a lawsuit claimed the city mismanaged the revenue.
On Tuesday, Mayor Allen Brown said he’s happy to finally have the issue resolved. “We had a real opportunity for this tax to be ruled unconstitutional, and that’s not something that anybody really wanted,” he said. “The settlement offer will … just clarify that this money can be used for salaries, and salary increases in that police department going forward, which is what we fully intend to do with it and we will do with it in the future. So, just clarifies a few things that make sure that that money gets taken care of like it’s supposed to.”
Brown said the tax raises about $1.2 million a year for the police department.
As part of the settlement, the city agreed to pay some costs and attorney fees.