The move would not take any officers off the street, Jones said.
Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he supports the move. It would provide a "buck stops here guy" when there's no captain on duty, he said.
Metzner and Councilman William M. Breichner said they wanted additional details on the cost and possible savings in overtime.
Lieutenants aren't eligible for overtime, while sergeants are, Jones said.
Depending on who is promoted, the city could save money on overtime costs, said Personnel Manager Eric Marburger.
Marburger said if city officials were to sufficiently increase the base pay, sergeants want to be lieutenants, despite the loss of overtime pay.
The pay range for a sergeant is $33,507 to $43,212, according to a memo from Jones. The pay range for lieutenants is $38,370 to $49,489.
The base pay increase would boost retirement benefits, Marburger said.
Eleven of the department's 16 sergeants have applied for promotion to lieutenant, Jones said. Applicants will be assessed in March, he said.
If the council approves the reclassification, five lieutenants would be hired, Jones said.
A fifth lieutenant is needed to fill a vacancy, Jones said. The vacancy is for the lieutenant in charge of grants, planning and research, and special projects.