GOSHEN — In the first of at least two hearings on the proposed 2014 budget, the Goshen City Council managed to trim approximately a quarter of a million dollars from next year’s budget while still honoring several departments’ requests for more employees.
After a brief overview of the budget provided by Eric Walsh of Umbaugh and Associates, the council dove into next year’s proposed budget.
At the request of several department heads, the original budget proposed for 2014 either filled vacant positions already established and allowed for the creation of a few new positions.
Councilman Jeremy Stutsman sympathized with city employees’ need for help, but made a motion that would essentially delay the addition of a few employees until at least next year.
Stutsman’s motion eliminated two new positions in the police department, one new position in the street department and the filling of a vacant administrative position in the parks department.
It’s estimated that not funding those positions would cut about $250,000 from next year’s budget, though exact figures are not yet available.
The 2014 budget would still fund several additional positions, including two vacant positions in the police department to be filled as well as the addition of two maintenance staffers for the parks department.
Realizing the need that several departments have, Stutsman said he would simply like to slow things down to get a better grasp of where the city will be financially next year and emphasized that the council look for ways to increase revenues within the next year to facilitate the addition of the positions cut from the 2014 budget in 2015.
Council President Jim McKee stated his agreement with Stutsman and also asked for clarification on the increase in the airport manager’s salary for 2014.
Patty Morgan, the city’s human resources manager and a member of the aviation board, explained that the increase was due in part to looking to the future.
If in the future the board must look for a replacement, it would want to be able to offer a salary that is competitive enough with airports of similar sizes to draw interest.
She noted an increase from $31,000 to $41,000 seemed like a large jump in one year but added that the increase will be more than covered by measures the airport board will employ to raise revenues, estimated to bring in an additional $14,000 next year.
The proposed budget with Stutsman’s amendment passed, but only through the first reading.
The second reading will likely take place at the next council meeting Oct. 15.