The City of Abilene is searching for ways to keep the employees they value.

“One of the largest concerns and complaints I had heard from the directors, over the last 2 years I’ve been here, is that they cannot keep and retain people,” said City Manager Robert Hanna.

Hanna said they simply need to give bigger paychecks to do so.

“This is a how we pay our people, how much and why,” said Hanna.

On Thursday, Abilene City Council will vote to approve a new compensation and classification plan.

Hanna said this hasn’t been done in 20 years.

“I’m interested in paying a fair market wage, and this is what this survey has done for us,” said Hanna.

A survey compared Abilene wages to several other cities.

“What we did was we looked at our peer cities. Historically our peer cities have been Carrollton, Denton, Grand Prairie, Killeen, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, San Angelo, Waco, Wichita Falls,” said Hanna.

The study found Abilene civil service employees, like the police and fire department, make competitive wages.

However it also found that civilian employees don’t make competitive earnings.

“We can’t afford to be 100 percent of the market, so we’re going to be 95 percent of the market,” said Hanna.

The new plan proposes to bump up employees who are paid below the minimum.

This will cost about $170,000.

“Most of the impact are people that make 15 dollars or less,” said Hanna.

Hanna said even a $1 difference in pay can mean losing or keeping an employee.

“The risk of not looking at our compensation means that your brightest talent leaves, because they can go to other places and take jobs,” said Hanna.