Budgets for police, parking system reviewed

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea The operations of the Fort Dodge Police Department would be largely unchanged under a roughly $3 million proposed budget introduced to the City Council Monday. Council members did not recommend any changes to the spending plan.

Operations of the Fort Dodge Police Department would remain largely unchanged under a proposed budget for 2017-2018 introduced Monday.

That proposal calls for spending $3,095,436 to run the Police Department between July 1 and June 30, 2018.

The current police budget totals $2,994,555.

Police Chief Kevin Doty told the City Council Monday that personnel expenses will go up $110,000 in the next fiscal year due to officers receiving raises. The budget retains the police force at 40 officers.

Doty said he wants to increase the amount of money spent on training by $5,000. He said that would enable the department to send five more officers to leadership training programs.

The amount budgeted to keep the fleet of police vehicles fueled up would drop from $109,000 to $79,000 in the next fiscal year.

“If things stay like they are, that should be a safe figure for us,” Doty said.

The budget anticipates receiving $110,000 from tickets generated by the use of the vehicle that contains a camera and radar setup for nabbing speeders.

Councilman Andy Fritz asked if it would be appropriate to keep that revenue in the budget since the Legislature and Gov. Terry Branstad may outlaw the use of such speed cameras this year.

City Manager David Fierke said the revenue should be left in the budget until it becomes clear what the governor and Legislature will do. He recommended that the council “count the revenue now, but have a contingency plan if it’s not there.”

“You could cut it out if you needed to,” he said.

The council also reviewed a proposed budget for the downtown parking system that calls for spending $161,300.

That’s down from the current parking budget of $267,000. The current parking budget includes about $160,000 for reconstructing the lot at First Avenue North and Sixth Street. With that project done, the parking budget for the next fiscal year will go down.

Doty said the proposed parking budget includes $25,000 to replace the golf cart-like vehicle used by the parking enforcement officers. It also includes $7,500 to replace some parking meters in the lot at Second Avenue North and Ninth Street.

Council members also learned that proposed budget includes $315,239 for the city’s contribution for the 911 dispatch center.

The budget plan also includes $27,341 to support Webster County Emergency Management.

Although the next fiscal year doesn’t begin until July1, state law requires cities to submit their budgets in early March. That’s why the City Council has been reviewing budget plans since December.