MACEDONIA -- The police department's proposed 2017 budget has increased by about $350,000 over 2016 due to increases in the police employers pension, salaries and wages, and overtime, according to Finance Director Rhonda Hall.
At a special City Council finance committee meeting Feb. 2 to try to work out the city's 2017 annual budget, Police Chief Jon Golden explained to town leaders why his department will need more money this year.
No official action was taken. The budget must be approved by March 31.
Last year's police budget was about $2.833 million, while this year's proposed police budget is about $3.186 million.
The increases this year include about $100,000 for employers pension costs, about $100,000 in salaries and wages, about 70,000 in health insurance costs and about $80,000 in other increases, including $15,000 in overtime and about $9,000 in training costs.
Hall said there is an increase in police salaries because Council determined replacement full-time employees would be hired in 2016 and they were only paid for part of that year.
Golden said there are 24 full-time officers, which is what he has budgeted for, with 2017 salaries and wages projected at about $1.8 million. That is up from about $1.7 million in 2016.
Hall, referring to all city departments, said there is no way to change the salary figures.
"Payroll is set in stone. I can't change payroll," she said.
Overtime hours will increase this year because the state is doubling the number of mandated training hours each officer must obtain, Golden said.
Golden said the state increased the amount of continual professional training officers must attend.
"There is mandatory training for every officer across the state, so you're going to see overtime when we have a couple guys going to train," he said. "If you don't do the training, by Dec. 31 the officer is no longer allowed to carry a gun. He can't function as a police officer and has no arrest power. It's very clear that you have to remove them as a functioning police officer.
"We also make a lot of arrests," he said. "When our officers have to go to court, if they're not working, they get three hours paid overtime."
Hall said the general fund spending last year was about $11.354 million, and the estimated general fund spending for this year is about $13.231 million. She said the increase is due to the fire contracts Macedonia has with Sagamore Hills Township and Northfield Center Township. Excluding those contracts, she said Macedonia's estimated general fund spending would be about $11.776.
The general fund pays for the operation of most city departments including salaries, wages, employers pension, workers compensation, supplies, training and hospitalization.
Among other departments discussed Feb. 2, the budget for the finance department is about $393,000 for 2017, down from about $397,000 in 2016; the mayor's court budget for 2017 is about $320,000, up from about $311,000 in 2016; and the recreation center budget is about $1.332 million for 2017, up from about $1.219 million in 2016.
Jan Tulley, chairperson of Council's finance committee, stressed that "with the entire process you're going through, you have to budget with what you know you're going to receive. You cannot budget to what's being proposed on the ballot. So if the ballot passes, we have a way to come back and amend. If the ballot fails, we've already passed the budget."
Council approved legislation Jan. 26 that would repair streets and fund the recreation center if voters approve an increase in the city's income tax rate by 0.5 percent, allowing an income tax credit for residents. The plan will not raise taxes on residents, according to Councilor Kevin Bilkie, who devised the idea.
The city's income tax rate currently is 2.0 percent. When a 0.25 percent income tax that had been specified for the recreation center expires at the end of June, the city's income tax rate would drop to 1.75 percent. If approved by voters, the 0.5 percent income tax increase would raise the city's income tax rate to 2.25 percent, Hall said.
Mike Lesko: 330-541-9432