2005 city budget calls for increase in offers
Council reviewing financial road map
City Administrator Shane Krull's proposal for the 2005 city budget includes an increase in both police officers and firefighters.
At a two-hour budget work session Wednesday, those items were two of several Krull discussed with council members.
Council member Ron Cranor agreed with increasing the police force.
"We need another full-time officer," said Cranor, who is a former highway patrolman and sheriff's officer. "The logistics of this town, anymore, alludes that we add more full-time people."
Tonganoxie has three administrative positions -- chief, deputy chief and sergeant -- and four full-time officers. Kenny Carpenter is police chief and John Putthoff is deputy
chief, while the sergeant position currently is open.
Building inspection $50,035
Animal Control $11,200
Non-appropriated fund balance $20,000
Total for 2005 budget $1,339,346
Total for 2004 budget $1,138,599
Because Carpenter is on active duty in Iraq, Putthoff is acting chief, Brian Daily is acting sergeant and Larry Burns is acting lieutenant. Putthoff said that the sergeant position was left vacant when Carpenter was called overseas and will be filled in the future.
Daily and Burns are full-time officers, as is Billy Adcox, who is the department's investigator. Tony Hernandez and Steve Apostle are the other full-time officers, while the department has 10 part-time officers. The part-time officers currently make $10.40 per hour, but council members would like to see that wage hiked to at least $11.
"We have people like Chip," Putthoff said, referring part-time officer Chip Marquardt. "He puts tons of work into this place for nothing."
Fire Chief Dave Bennett, meanwhile, has requested another full-time firefighter.
Cranor, however, wanted to research the issue further.
"I'd like to have more dialogue on that," Cranor said. "We went from nothing to chief to captain to the whole way we did it and now another person.
"I'd like to hear how this is going to work."
In this, the council's first work session on the 2005 budget, Cranor and fellow council members Steve Gumm and Velda Roberts and Mayor Dave Taylor were in attendance with Krull and Putthoff. Absent were members Kathy Graveman and Emmett Wetta.
Budget expenses for the general fund are at $1,339,346 for 2005. That's up about $200,000 from the 2004 budget of $1,138,599.
Expenses are up, but Krull looks for the mill levy, with city council approval, to be at 16.9. The 2004 budget called for a 16.3 mill levy. One mill is equal to $1 in taxes for $1,000 in property valuation.
Aside from fire and police expenses, Krull outlined expected costs for streets, court, animal control, the swimming pool, building inspection and planning.
The city heard from Kansas City, Mo., firm Bucher, Willis and Ratliff at the June 28 council meeting. If hired by the city, the planning firm likely would charge between $20,000 and $30,000 per year. The 2005 operating budget calls for $35,000.
And at the 80-year-old swimming pool, Krull has budgeted expenses at more than $65,000, up about $3,500 from the previous year.
That mainly is for maintenance and improvements on the aging pool.
"I would guess we're on borrowed time," Krull said.
Sales tax revenue has been strong this year.
"We're seeing a positive gain," Krull said. "This is from new businesses and residential building."
The new destination tax also should be beneficial.
"If you go buy a couch at Nebraska Furniture Mart and bring it here, we get the sales tax," Krull said.
The council will meet from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today in council chambers for another session on the proposed budget.