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IT projects, two firefighter positions included in spending plan additions
By J.R. Williams -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- City officials have advanced a general fund budget for fiscal 2012 that, at $70.8 million, is about $2 million greater than last year.
Finance Director Mary Blowe and City Manager Jim O'Connor presented council members with the plan at a work session last week.
Including funding for schools, the budget totals $192,627,625.
Added to the budget are $250,000 for information technology projects and two firefighter positions. One network engineer and one emergency dispatcher position also were funded.
Seventeen vacant positions are slated for elimination, from parking booth attendants to two assistant city manager posts. Other positions were reclassified.
The budget also uses $1.6 million from the utilities fund to balance the spending plan.
Three capital projects are scheduled for 2012, and the budget includes $75,000 for the green circle trail, $225,000 for equipment replacement and $500,000 for sidewalk replacement.
Several large projects are on the horizon, including an estimated $1 million for a new emergency communications radio system and a pending bond reimbursement resolution to fund school renovations. That amount is for a maximum of $20 million.
No new outside agency applicants were funded in the budget, which includes income based on a revenue-neutral property tax rate of 86 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The budget also includes a merit pay increase estimated to cost $335,000. Employees with salaries below the minimum listed in a new pay scale would receive the new minimum salary. Other employees would receive a 2.5 percent pay increase, and those with salaries over $70,000 would receive a 1 percent increase.
"It is our hope that during the next budget cycle City Council will incorporate the second phase of the pay plan and try to move employees toward the midpoint of the new pay grades," says a memo on the budget to the City Council.
A public hearing on the plan is scheduled for the June 14 City Council meeting.