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New Cumberland finance committee discusses budget

NEW CUMBERLAND — The city’s finance committee met last week to discuss the city’s budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The committee is still working on the final draft of the budget and Clerk Sara Hawkins asked the committee to let her know if they have any requests Hawkins composed the draft by reviewing budgets from past years. She also reported they are waiting for information from the county before she can finalize some of the numbers.

The committee will review the final draft during its March meeting and will submit the budget to the state for review. They will then finalize the budget during a meeting on April 21.

Will White, council and committee member, asked Hawkins to talk to council and the street committee members Don Blankenship and Larry Binkoski for input on the amount to set aside for paving and storm sewer maintenance. Hawkins will also be talking to Pat Jones, chief water operator, about the amount they should allot for fire hydrants. The committee discussed eliminating the hydrant fund, because they did not spend the allotted $5,000 for hydrants this past year, but they want Jones’ feedback before making any decisions.

The committee requested a $5,000 beautification fund, and members plan to discuss ways to spend the money at a later date.

They also talked about allotting the money for a second full-time police officer. They are aware the police department has a two-year turnover rate. They hope a second officer would ensure the city always has one full-time officer, but the committee was not sure if that was the best way to budget the city’s excess funds. Hawkins explained they aren’t required to hire a second officer just because they budgeted for one, and they can always adjust future budgets if they determine two officers is more than the city can afford.

Hawkins will continue gathering feedback while finalizing the budget.

In other action, the committee:

¯ Recommended spending up to $35,000 of the general fund to purchase a new Dodge Durango for the police department. The committee’s recommendation will be brought to the council to vote on.

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