City council discusses budget at retreat

tjefferson@vagazette.com

City council took the first steps in crafting its budget during their retreat at the Stryker Center on Saturday afternoon.

Council hinted at having to increase taxes in order to cover school expenses and the need for more staffing for the fire and police departments.

The city will have to pay $294,964 more than they did last year to fund schools in fiscal year 2019 because of the addition of James Blair Middle School.

Last year the city contributed $9.2 million, which represented almost 10 percent of the school budget. This year, they will contribute $9.5 million.

Chiefs from the fire and police department said they would like to bring in at least two employees apiece.

One police officer costs the city $75,724 after salary, benefits and training, according to the police department.

Police chief Sean Dunn said the new officers would be used for the narcotics team.

Council will meet on March 8 to discuss the budget again. During the month of February, individual departments will finalize their budgets.

Council will present the budget at a public hearing on April 12 and would not adopt a new budget until May 10.

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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