Sunday, August 30, 2009

Financial Advisory Committee (Cont. #1)

(continued from preceding post) (B) PROJECTED 2010 EXPENDITURES The Mayor's budget proposal includes: a 3% pay raise for all employees (plus 2% merit raises); burying main downtown area electric transmission lines (a "very large project" according to Manager Sligh); building a storage building for Theatre 98 ($500K); purchasing additional land for the Recreation Department; 3 new hires (@ City Hall/warehouse); and resurfacing roads ($1.5 million). Member Stan Grubin: "I understand there's no way provided in his budget to fund this (road paving), right?" Chairman Zunk: "That's right." (The Mayor did not attend this meeting) [NOTE: Most of the following Department Manager recommendations closely resemble those already identified by the City's new Strategic Planning Committee (formed last Winter). The need for improved computer performance (new AS 400 server) and a vehicle replacement plan being two major complaints common to all Departments.] Department Managers: 1. Police (Fire) Department The Committee Chairman asked new Police Chief Bill Press to "tell us your vision." Chief Press responded his main priority is improved officer training; and other important goals were, "to end the good old boy system being utilized when I came here . . . and bring policing into the 21st century." Press also said he wanted to improve police services for the citizens "on a daily basis." Specifically he mentioned expenditures for officer training to gain CALEA accreditation and maintain current "officer standing"; improving the dispatch/911 system (install CAD system); repair inoperative security cameras at the jail and provide tasers for corrections officers; seven replacement vehicles (for current ones with over 150K miles); et al. For the Fire Department (In reality a private, self governing entity-- but technically under his Dept's. budgeting authority) Press cited the need for: $400K for dispatcher salaries( 9 full time, 8 part); more fireman training; medical ("physical") exams for firemen; $500K for a new fire truck and $53K for other vehicle repair; $73K for "fire call payments"-- $10/call for firemen not on city clock or driving city vehicles (a fireman there added "its incentive to get up and go to the fire"); et al. City Administrator Mims observed: "Its really not part of the City" (the Fairhope Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. -- classified by the IRS as a "public charity" type corporation). (to be continued)


Anonymous said...

I'm all for it but Chief Press had better get him a big stick, like Sheriff Buford Pusser in those old 1970s 'Walking Tall' movies, if he wants to take on Fairhope's infamous political machine.

TheBerrys said...

Better forget about the pay raise. my salary's gone DOWN this past year.

Anonymous said...

We desperately need somebody from outside like Press--not related to (or indebted to) anybody at City Hall-- to come in and clean things up: not just at the Police Dept. but in all the other Depts. as well.