Huntington council reviews department budgets

The Huntington City Council met on Tuesday, Sept. 8, to review the city’s proposed 2021 budget.

City department heads presented their proposed budgets to the council, making notes of any changes from previous years’ budgets. While many departments reported small changes, some department heads presented larger changes for their 2021 budget.

Steve Yoder, presenting the Park budget, started his portion of the presentation off by noting items that could be removed from the proposed budget. According to Yoder, money for lights, fixing and replacing a gazebo and a new truck were no longer needed. Two items, the truck and gazebo replacement, were taken care of with the 2020 park budget. The money proposed for the light replacements were removed due to putting the project off for a future date. Yoder was asked to present a new spreadsheet that included the updates of items taken off the 2021 budget, to better reflect what the budget looked like.

The amount of $2,800 was allocated for chemicals to be used at the new splash pad. According to Yoder, the chemicals will likely cost closer to $2,000, but were budgeted higher due to this being the first year that the chemicals will be purchased and used.

Changes in contract mowing were also discussed for the park budget. Due to a low number of job bids, Yoder proposed a $10,000 increase for mowing to allow for the purchase of a new zero-turn mower, which would allow for part of the contract mowing to be taken over by a park employee. City council members asked about the possibility of expanding the number of bids the park department received, in order to have better options to choose from.

Tim Bischoff, who presented the Street, City Garage and MVH budgets, discussed changes to the budget for items such as a new truck for the city. The new truck would be able to use all attachments that the city currently has. Under capital outlays, a $275,000 increase was proposed for motor equipment. Chad Hacker presented the Police Department budget proposal, noting some numbers could not be exact due to having a new building with little payment history to base numbers from.

Other increases within the police budget included money for data storage and a new computer, as well as an addition to the personal service budget for custodial services. Hacker reported that the computers within the building are on a five-year rotation, with 10 computers needing replacements.

Tony Johnson reported the Fire Department budget, noting a $250,000 proposal for motor equipment. The fire department is currently looking into different options for purchasing a new fire department vehicle. Johnson clarified that department vehicles do not need to be replaced due to misuse by the department, but rather due to the type of engine within the vehicle.

Johnson also noted the fire department has applied for grants this year and are still in the running for the grants for which they have applied.

The amount of $22,000 was also proposed for the fire department’s personal protection equipment, also known as turnout gear. This is a $2,000 decrease from the 2020 budget proposal.

In other business:

• The council heard a petition from a citizen regarding the amount of noise coming from trucks at Jefferson Street and Flaxmill Road. The citizen brought up “jake braking” that has been happening more often, causing the noise, as well as possible solutions such as signage against jake braking or changing speed limits to the area.

• A first and final reading of Resolution 10-R-20 “Statement of Benefits - Memcor SB-1/PP-Memcor” was presented and passed unanimously.