The loss of three school resource officers was the first item highlighted during a discussion on the proposed 2021 Jamestown Police Department budget.
On Monday, the Jamestown City Council held budget discussions with the police and fire department chiefs. Lt. Tim Jackson, interim police chief, said the Jamestown Public School District didn’t fund the three school resource officers this year, which was a loss of $306,000 in revenue for the department.
“So that’s a big change there,” Jackson said.
He said the department is budgeted to have 60 police officers next year after starting this year with 62. With two less officers in the budget, Jackson said there is a $77,653 savings in salaries. However, he said there is also an increase of $33,400 in an impact payment the city has to make to department personnel because the number of police officers is lower than what is required in the last agreed upon contract between the police department and the city.
Jackson said also the salary line in the budget for civilian employees will increase next year by $23,680 because of the new contract agreement wit the Civil Service Employees Association Local 1000 employees union.
As for the fire department, Matthew Coon, deputy fire chief, said he requested a new ambulance in his proposed 2021 budget, but it wasn’t included in the executive budget. He said the current ambulance is seven years old and he wants a new emergency vehicle in case the current one breaks down or is in need of maintenance. He said the fire department has to respond to EMS calls if ALSTAR EMS is not available, which he said can be a challenge with the older ambulance.
Coon also said that the department needs new reporting software in order to be more efficient. He asked for funding to be used from the contingency line in this year’s budget. However, Kim Ecklund, At-Large councilwoman, said that might be a challenge given the unknowns about this year’s budget because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anthony Dolce, council president, said the council will continue its budget deliberations Monday, Nov. 16, with the city Development Department, James Prendergast Library, Fenton History Center and Jamestown Senior Center.
Last month, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist released the proposed 2021 executive budget that includes a 17-cent reduction in the tax rate. According to the state Department of Taxation and Finances, the tax rate is determined by dividing the tax levy by the total taxable assessed value of all property in a jurisdiction.
The tentative budget also includes a $70,000 decrease in the tax levy. According to the state Department of Taxation and Finances, the tax levy is the amount raised through property taxes. Sundquist said the 2021 proposed budget is $1.66 million less than the 2020 spending plan.
The council is required to hold a public hearing on the budget and then vote to ratify the budget on, or before, Dec. 1.
If the council doesn’t act by that date, the proposed executive budget goes into effect. The complete 2021 executive budget can be viewed on the city’s website at www.jamestownny.gov/budget. A hard copy of the complete budget is also available to review in the mayor’s office, city clerk’s office, and the James Prendergast Library.
In other business, the council discussed a resolution to hire a new auditor. City officials received five bids, with the lowest being from Drescher & Malecki of Buffalo at a cost of $85,718. Ecklund said two local accounting firms did submit proposals, but both were significantly more expensive. She also said the bid from Drescher & Malecki is in line with what city officials paid for auditing services in the past.
The council also discussed two resolutions dealing with purchasing a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado at the cost of $32,360 to replace a 2007 F-150 for the Parks Department. The funding for the new truck will come from contingency budget.
Both resolutions are slated to be on the agenda during the council’s voting session meeting Monday, Nov. 30.
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox