Senior staff writer
The proposed Beech Grove city budget improves public safety with plans to purchase three new police vehicles and additional staffing of one police officer and one firefighter.
The 2016 budget advanced through first reading by the City Council at a special meeting Sept. 14 in City Hall.
Budget, salary and library ordinances will come up for second and third reading at the council meeting Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. “Public safety is our number one goal,” Mayor Dennis Buckley said. “Public safety has to be the number one goal of any municipality.”
According to Buckley, the budget calls for an increase of $850,000 but with a municipal property tax rate that would remain the same or be reduced slightly due to an increase in the city’s assessed valuation and more fee-based income for the city.
“It’s a balanced budget; there is revenue to fund the budget,” Clerk-Treasurer Dan McMillan said.
The budget calls for a 2 percent raise for full time employees and a $1-per-hour raise for part-time municipal employees.
The mayor’s salary of $52,450 and the clerk-treasurer’s salary of $50,266 remain the same as last year. The city judge’s salary drops slightly to $42,839; the full-time court clerk’s salary is $43,860.
More than $90,000 is to be spent on paving city streets than this year. New pick up trucks for the Department of Public Works and Parks Department are contained in the budget plus updated plows and salt spreaders.
The front lobby of the Police Department also will be manned from 4 p.m.-midnight each day.
“We have come a long way in four years,” said Buckley whose new administration inherited a financial crisis. “It is really good to watch the city turn around.”
The general fund budget calls for expenditures of $8,116,896, an increase of $473,389 over the 2014 budget. An estimated $150,000 more in local road and street and motor vehicle highway funds is anticipated.
The proposed tax levy is $1.4 million less than this year’s levy, which explains the potential reduction in the eventual municipal property tax rate.
The city’s assessed valuation is 10.71 percent higher than last year.
McMillan pointed out that the municipality’s corporate account is at $2.7 million, a huge improvement over the $200,000 balance when the new administration was elected.
The council also advanced the Beech Grove Library budget $1,271,400 Sept. 14.