After conducting its annual midyear budget review, the city has decided to fill five vacant employee positions: two police officers, a public works director, a fire captain and a police captain.
The City Council unanimously approved the hiring plan during , and also approved revisions to estimated revenue and budget transfers.
A midyear review is conducted each year to make sure that assumptions and estimates originally predicted in the year prior are still realistic (see accompanying document under photos).
“This is our midpoint in the year, looking at the budget, and we are expecting a slight increase in revenue of 1 percent, which we hope is reason for optimism," said the city's finance director, Viki Copeland, at the council meeting. "This time last year we were looking at a decline of 4 percent, or $1.2 million.”
The increased revenue, which is $1.4 million, came from taxes and an early retirement incentive that accepted in October.
As the city now moves forward, council members reminded city staff that an agreement needs to be reached with police and fire labor unions before employing new public safety officers, which will determine what kind of pension plan the new hires will have.
The over proposed changes to retirement benefits.
"It would be prudent for us to wait until our contract negotiations are resolved, then go ahead and proceed with hiring," said Councilman Howard Fishman on Tuesday.
Staff members plan to review other available positions within the city. Councilman Michael DiVirgilio urged them to think carefully about "the organization you want, not the positions that are vacant."
Now that the council has reviewed the midyear budget, a pre-budget meeting is scheduled for Thursday to discuss these recent developments and the next fiscal year.