Council holds budget workshop Tuesday
The goal, according to city Financial Director Robert Porfiri, is for the city to come together and adopt a budget by June 30 each year.
Departments who have given presentations on their financial status to date include: administration, the city clerk’s office, the finance department, the police department, the fire department, the community development department, and the public works and engineering department.
Each department has discussed both their immediate and long-range goals with the council.
SFD Chief Stu Ratner and SPD Chief Jeff Atkinson outlined some specific goals for their departments in the coming fiscal year, along with each department’s proposed budget.
Some of Ratner’s immediate goals included keeping the departments staff up to code on enforcement issues, using funds to keep the station’s maintenance in top shape, and enhancing the public’s fire education.
One of Ratner’s long-term goals includes adding one more fulltime firefighter to his staff for a total of three firefighters on duty at all times. Another goal was for the department to set up a vehicle replacement fund to prepare for needed equipment in the future. His final long-term goal was the continued development of a second fire station under city jurisdiction, as well as the eventual remodel of the Main Street fire station.
As for the immediate goals of the police department, Atkinson mentioned how he wanted to increase his current staff’s proficiency via training. Another priority was to replace a minimum of one vehicle each fiscal year, in order to maintain the department’s 16 vehicle fleet.
On the SPD’s list of long-term goals, Atkinson said he would eventually like to see the department restructure the vacant detective position. He said it would be possible for the department to do so by adding an additional $77,000 to the salary and benefits of the department, which would in turn be used to fund the detective position.
Aside from looking for more specialized staff, Atkinson said he would also like to see the workload of his officers reduced by hiring both volunteer and non-sworn staff to handle more menial duties.
Both Ratner and Atkinson gave examples of how they were saving money, such as the fire department purchasing several used self-contained breathing apparatuses in order to cut cost, or the police department using dated radio sets, which Atkinson said was a problem he wanted to remedy as soon as possible.
Porfiri and his financial department staff put together a rough proposed budget for each of the departments, broken down into three sections: salaries and benefits, operations, and capital expenses.
Porfiri stressed at the last workshop that the numbers for each department are not official and as of right now are subject to change, since more adjustments will most likely be made between now and the summer.
Based on his department’s rough calculations presented at the last workshop, the total budget for the police and fire department, combining both its base balance and its requested funds from the city is as follows:
fire department — $1.3 million
police department — $2.5 million
According to approximate statistics provided by Porfiri, the majority of the expenditures from the city’s general fund over the last three fiscal years have gone to the police and fire departments.
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