In a brief special meeting Thursday evening, Hillsboro City Council unanimously approved the 2017 budget.
The final budget includes $5,161,800 in General Fund appropriations and a grand total of $13,141,800 in overall spending, including street, water, sewer and other larger dollar items. The budget ultimately approved Thursday shaved several thousand dollars off an earlier draft that was reviewed last week, which showed about $30,000 more in General Fund spending.
Most of the savings came from the police department after council agreed not to pursue additional body cameras – a decision that acting Chief Steve Browder said he agreed with – and removed all but a couple of thousand dollars from an initial $30,000 request for inmate housing at the Highland County Justice Center. That left roughly the same amount the city has spent in previous years on inmate housing.
The budget includes about $2.9 million for general government services, which encompasses the mayor’s office ($260,000), auditor’s office ($153,000), law director’s office ($177,000), council ($57,000), income tax office ($207,000), and other miscellaneous costs.
Police department appropriations are budgeted at $1,472,000, and $582,000 was budgeted for the contract with the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District.
After Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting, Mayor Drew Hastings said the budget included another $100,000 for a sidewalk replacement program. Finance Committee Chair Dick Donley said previously that budget items will include funds for more uptown lighting.
Donley said after Thursday’s meeting that employee raises of no more than 2 percent are built into the budget, but it’s up to department supervisors to recommend any raises to the administration. Hastings said earlier that the Fraternal Order of Police had agreed to an increase of 2 percent for police officers.
Council had met in special session last Friday to approve the budget, but last-minute changes and the absence of city auditor Gary Lewis, who said he was celebrating a wedding anniversary, resulted in no action being taken. Another Finance Committee meeting was held Tuesday with Lewis in attendance, and after weeks of work the finalized document was quickly approved Thursday.
Hastings and all council members were present Thursday except Ann Morris, who was on vacation, according to council President Lee Koogler, with council voting to excuse her absence.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.