October 31, 2014

Gardner continues budget review with police, parks, public works

Mark Taylor
mtaylor@gardnernews.com
The Gardner Aquatic Center’s lap lane pool may need an estimated $250,000 to $300,000 in repair work.
Jeff Stewart, parks and recreation director, told council members during a June 25 budget meeting that gutters on the lap lane may need to be replaced.
Stewart identified the work in a budget request that represents about a 3 percent increase over last year.
“I am not trying to alarm you,” he said, “but it (lap pool) is a real concern.”
The Aquatic Center attracts about 80,000 visitors a year.
Stewart said shutting down the lap lane would likely cut into those attendance numbers.
“It is very popular,” he said.
The parks and recreation department is requesting a $2.152 million budget for 2013, compared with $2.072 million in 2012.
The proposed budget earmarks $464,100 for administration, $341,900 for recreation, $872,800 for park maintenance, and $473,000 for aquatics.
Stewart said the proposed park and recreation budget also reflects the absence of an administrative assistant position that was not filled when vacated in 2010.
Kenneth Francis, police chief, is proposing $4.031 million for his department for 2013, compared with $3.885 million in 2012.
The department is in its second year as a stand-alone police department with contracted fire services from Johnson County Fire District No. 1.
The budget includes $583,500 for administration, $2.196 million for operations, $150,000 for animal control and $1.1 million for fire operations.
“Your police department budget has not changed much from last year,” Francis said.
Francis added that the department is staffed “significantly” below the national average of officers per 1,000 persons.
Dave Green, public works director, requested $1.784 million for his department, compared with $1.615 million last year.
The public works budget includes $219,200 for administration, $83,800 for fleet operations, $1.045 million for streets and storm drainage, and $435,900 for engineering.
“This budget is primarily flat,” Greene told the council.
The council will review each department fund over the next several weeks.
The council previously reviewed the internal services and bond and interest funds.
An approved 2013 city budget must be filed with the state no later than Aug. 25.

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