Proposal would retain firefighters, cut police, fund streets

Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 10:24 AM.

CRESTVIEW — City Council President Robyn Helt, saying taxpayers shouldn't be expected to "make up the slack" if the city can't live within its means, has offered a proposal for a balanced budget.

Helt's plan, presented during a Monday budget workshop, would come at the expense of four police officer positions funded by a Justice Department Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, grant.

Retaining the policemen would cost the city $194,960. Helt said the city had made no plans to fund the positions when the 2010 three-year grant expires this fall.

If integrated into departments' budgets and approved by the council, Helt's proposal would fund Police Chief Tony Taylor’s request to move his department's dispatch center from P.J. Adams Parkway to police headquarters in the Whitehurst Municipal Building.

It would also fund Taylor's CPD accreditation efforts; Library Director Jean Lewis' request for $20,000 in patron computer upgrades and $25,000 for book acquisition; and $74,843 to cover a small portion of backlogged street repaving.

In addition, Helt's plan would erase the current deficit in preliminary budget proposals, which department heads have whittled down to 533,000, while avoiding a millage rate increase.

Funding sources

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