By Dustin Ensinger
The city of Reynoldsburg plans to spend nearly $15 million next year.
Reynoldsburg City Council held a second reading of its 2015 spending outline at its Nov. 24 meeting.
The $14.96 million budget is an increase from the $14.3 million budget council approved for 2014.
Projected revenues are $18.2 million, up from $17.9 million in 2014.
The police department is the largest proposed expenditure, accounting for more than half of the budget. Mayor Brad McCloud’s proposal calls for spending $8.8 million on police services in 2015.
Director of Public Service Nathan Burd laid out his budget request of $1.1 million, which includes $225,000 for lighting, $75,000 for engineering services and $35,000 for contract services – mainly used to pay for mosquito fogging.
Burd is asking for an increase from $79,000 to $90,000 for streetscape maintenance.
Part of the increase is driven by the need to remove weeds near the I-70 and State Route 356 interchange. The weeds impede the view of several businesses in the area, according to Burd.
Burd said just down the street, in the city of Pickerington, the area is well maintained.
“It’s a big problem the businesses aren’t happy about,” Burd said.
Burd is also asking for an increase from $18,000 to $30,000 for tree and grass services. At $18,000, the city has no money on hand to deal with trees, Burd said.
His request also includes $20,000 to deal with damaged brick walls owned by the city.
“We had a record year of people driving into our brick walls,” Burd said.
Council is expected to hear from department heads over the next several weeks and further review the mayor’s proposal.
Last year, council operated on an interim budget through part of the first quarter of the year.
Water and sewer rates
Council approved a 5 percent water and sewer rate increase for 2015. The increase is driven, partially, by an expected 3-percent increase from the city of Columbus, which handles Reynoldsburg’s sewer and water service. The additional 2-percent is to keep up with current expenses, city officials said.
Pay increases for police clerks
Council heard a second reading on a measure that would boost the pay scale for clerks in the police department, which McCloud said prevents the city from keeping the positions fully staffed.
McCloud said the highest level salary available for a clerk in the department is lower than the bottom of the pay scale for similar positions in nearby municipalities.
Police Chief Jim O’Neill said when employees leave the clerk positions for other municipalities, it sometimes leads to police officials handling the paperwork, which is more costly for the city, especially if an officer is working on overtime.
But Councilman Cornelius McGrady indicated he would ask that the measure be tabled until the pay scale of all city employees can be reviewed.