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Police, recreation and fire give proposed 2014 budgets PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 1:22 AM

BY NANCY SPENCER

Herald Editor

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DELPHOS — Delphos City Council’s Finance Committee met after the regular council meeting on Monday.

Police Chief Kyle Fittro was first up. He outlined a budget of $1,078,650, just $6 over his target. This included $917,000 in salaries, benefits and other costs associated with payroll and $63,000 in overtime.

Fittro said he was able to cut his overtime by using part-time employees with the blessing of the bargaining unit.

“It does go against their contract but they know it’s what we have to do to survive so they worked with us,” Fittro said. “If you look at my payroll expenses, it has steadily declined since 2009. We’ve been shedding vehicles and full-time bodies and not replacing them. We have creatively scheduled and moved bodies around to make it work without loss of service.”

Fittro was asked what would happen to services if he had to lay off an officer.

“I can’t just lay off an officer,” Fittro explained. “I have to get rid of all the part-time employees before I can lay off a full-time employee, so I would lose seven bodies, not just one. That would significantly impact services.”

Fittro provided a list of services his department might not be able to offer if that would happen, including: mutual aid to other departments, funeral escorts, bank escorts, bike patrol, low-level intoxicated person complaints, low-level underage drinking complaints, low-level liquor law violation complaints, low-level menacing complaints, disorderly conduct complaints, telephone harassment complaints, criminal trespassing, curfew complaints, non-violent animal complaints, non-injury motor vehicle accidents (public and private property) and all non-injury hit-skip, to name a few.

Fittro stressed this was a worst-case scenario and the draft was “simply designed to get the organization thinking in this manner and produce dialogue.”

Fittro added that the budget he read without laying off the full- and part-time personnel works on paper but didn’t know if it would work in real life.

“When Sgt. McNeal retired, instead of replacing her, we brought back our task force guy. Last year, as a member of the task force, his contribution was 200 indictments on more than 60 drug traffickers with 21 search warrants served,” Fittro said. “That is a huge chunk out of our drug problem. Those people were selling heroin and prescription drugs. Big stuff. We also have a lot of crime associated with people who use those drugs.”

Fittro’s budget took a $41,000 hit when he learned Monday evening more funds would be transferred to the Police Retirement Fund in October.

Parks and Recreation Supervisor Craig Mansfield gave his budget, including the parks, the swimming pool and concessions.

Mansfield trimmed his parks budget by $26,000 by proposing the loss of three season employees. Payroll, related expenses and benefits were $157,250. His other expenses included $15,000 for electricity for his buildings and all the parks, $19,000 for maintenance of equipment and facilities, $12,000 for operating supplies (paper towels, toilet paper, winterization of restroom, cleaning supplies, etc.) and $10,000 for land improvements including seeding, top dressing on diamonds and costs for vandalism ($3,800 this year).

“Some of these expenses would be a lot more if not for donations and other fundraising,” Mansfield said. “Ads on the scoreboard pay for the football facilities and we have chemicals donated for the field.

“If I do lose those three seasonal employees, the water, sewer and reservoir properties will have to taken care of by someone else. I won’t have anyone to mow those.”

Mansfield did not have season-ending totals for the swimming pool and concessions but did say revenues were down from last year due to much cooler temperatures.

Councilman Mark Clement announced he was putting the group that was very vocal last year when they thought the pool was going to close on notice the pool is one of the items that might have to go away.

“We had a lot of people in here asking about what they could do,” Clement said. “We need those people to step forward again.”

Fire Chief Dave McNeal had approximately $120,000 in proposed reductions, including his retirement and buyout. His payroll was $437,630 with associated costs and $20,000 in overtime.

McNeal was asked how came up with the $20,000 in overtime when 2013 overtime figures we more than triple that. He said that having a full-time firefighter off for several months had boosted the overtime.

He added that there was only $2,500 left of a grant received in 2007-08 for turnout gear and the city needed to be prepared to replace 37 sets at approximately $2,500 each.

EMS figures were better coming in $4,900 less than the targeted budget. He added that the $2,000 in his travel and transportation budget and $2,000 in his training budget would not be nearly enough for his needs.

“We have seven paramedics who need 86 hours of continuing education credits every two years; seven intermediate who need 60; and 15 basics who need 48,” he said. “We do what can in-house but the rest has to be done through an instructor.”

The committee then addressed questions that were submitted in writing.

The first was “Why is there no grand summation of the budget?”

Berquist answered by saying they had to get the complete picture to put it all together.

Secondly, “Why line by line with all the trivial expenses?”

Committee head Martz answered.

“That is what council asked for,” he said. “We need the whole picture before we make decisions that will affect those departments and ultimately, our citizens.”

Third, “Why are no copies of what is being talked about provided so the those in attendance can follow along?”

Berquist said he had no problem providing those and they are always available for the asking during business hours as well.

Fourth, “Why the gag rule during a public meeting?”

Martz said there was no gag rule in place.

“We just need to make sure we can get through everything in the time we have,” he added. “We will take questions at the end of every meeting, time permitting.”

At the end of the meeting, Berquist proposed council pass a temporary budget for 2014 as he and department heads continued to look at their budgets for possible cuts.

Councilman Knebel said he felt the city’s priorities might need straightened out.

“We have a fire department with lots of overtime and a police department down to a bare minimum,” he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 11:59 PM
 

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