Porderdale cuts expenses to balance budget

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

PORTERDALE -- The City Council approved a 2011 operating fund budget that calls for reduced spending in the Police Department and outsourcing of building code inspections in the Planning and Zoning Department.

Among other changes, the budget shaves $61,500 in expenses from the Police Department and another $20,000 from Planning and Zoning in order to balance the budget at $984,733.

The budget was approved unanimously at a called meeting Tuesday night, with Councilmember Mike Harper absent.

City Manager Bob Thomson told the council that the final budget contained no revisions to revenue from the previous budget drafts. Property tax revenues of $300,000 in the budget are based on the city keeping collections the same as last year.

Thomson explained that the savings in the Police Department were achieved by cutting overtime hours and reducing the hours worked per shift. The budget also assumes the elimination of one police officer position through attrition, Thomson said Wednesday.

Police Department salaries were reduced by $47,946; overtime by $6,000; and retirement by $2,400. The Police Department budget totals $540,187 and comprises 55 percent of the total general fund budget.

The city also anticipates savings from contracting with a new software company for record-keeping in the Police Department. The city had originally budgeted $12,000 for software fees but expects savings of $4,000 with the new software.

Outsourcing building code inspections to the city of Covington will eliminate salaries and other payroll expenses totaling about $27,000 from the budget.

The 2011 budget includes funding for a retirement plan for city employees for the first time. Expenses for the retirement plan are roughly $100 per month per employee and total $12,200 for the year.