Whitehouse City Council to prioritize safety with 2023 budget

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Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 1:10 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:43 PM CDT
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WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KLTV) - Public safety is among the initiatives covered in the 2022 - 2023 budget approved by the Whitehouse City Council.

“Our commitment to excellence and public safety and being able to serve our citizens at a time of emergency - the extra personnel, needless to say, will have a profound impact,” says Whitehouse Fire Department fire chief, Madison Johnson.

Whitehouse will add two full-time police officer positions, and two full-time firefighter positions.

Johnson, says the added personnel will ensure they are able to work in teams, making it safer in the long run.

City manager, Leslie Black, says Whitehouse ranks in the top 50 safest cities in Texas. She says to maintain that, the city must have qualified personnel to respond during emergencies.

“These four new personnel committed to our public safety department will make sure that we continue our standard of excellence and our commitment to serving our citizens and making sure that we stay in that top 50 going forward,” Black says.

The city’s General Fund is about $5.3 million.

City officials are dedicating just over half of that budget -- $2.8 million – to public safety.

It allows the city to offer a 10 step compensation plan, and an average of 18% raises for public safety personnel.

Johnson says it gives first responders a good reason to stay in Whitehouse.

“It’s going to allow these men and women that come and work with us to see what they’re making, and be comfortable with, to feel like they’re in a competitive market, and know what they’re making from year to year,” Johnson says.

The Whitehouse Fire Department will be receiving a new fire engine in February of 2023 to replace their aging 1986 engine.

“This will give us three front line fire trucks that are ready to go, more effective, and way more cost efficient,” Johnson says.

The city has already posted the positions and hopes to have them filled as soon as October 1.