Council listens to department head proposals for the 2013 budget
Lapham initially requested two additional bodies to be added to the payroll in the fire department. Although Ortt has budgeted for this request in his 2013 tentative budget, Lapham had a few items of interest he inquired about.
Lapham believes the addition of two fire fighters is an integral part of the department that will help control overtime costs, contractual vacations, personal days, sick or bereavement time or any unexpected long term illnesses.
“This was my major point that I wanted to get through on this budget and I really hope that filing those positions will prove itself,” said Lapham.
Lapham noted that when he received Ortt’s proposed budget changes the salaries, holiday pay and deferred overtime were changed significantly from what he initially submitted to Ortt.
Three items in question were: fire fighters pay, holiday pay and the deferred overtime pay. In response to Lapham’s questions, North Tonawanda City Accountant Mark Dotterweich stated the budget for the fire department was based off the numbers from 2011 and there were adjustments made to the desired amount of funds because of the two persons added.
In addition, Lapham included a projected $41,000 in revenues in his budget proposal for the mayor, yet had not seen those revenues incorporated into his budget. The revenues are expected to come from the newly implemented Rescue Billing, which is also expected to financially aid the fire department, and the city, in years to come by funding operations in the department.
Lapham was assured by Dotterweich he will see those expected revenues in the 2014 budget, because as of today, the fire department has no revenues to date that are included in their budget
Additional requests and changes:
• A pumper at the cost of $500,000; a fleet pick-up for $20,000; building generators for $100,00; Hazmat suits for $12,000; and grant matching funds for $50,000.
• Pertaining to Operation, Lapham asked for $224,000, which was reduced to $210,000 for medical and first aid equipment.
Lapham stated the costs of these requirements is an estimated $11,600 per year. The budget allotted for $4,000.
“I think this has been underfunded, and we revisit this every year,” said Lapham.
In previous years, the city bonded $100,000 for fire gear in 2001. Lapham stated that bond roughly covered half the department.
In the 2013 budget, he asked for $9,000, which was then reduced and excepted at $5,000; however the newly proposed budget, approved by Ortt, provided zero funds for gear according to Lapham.
With the two additional fire fighters being added to the department, a projected cost of $2,500 worth of gear is expected per person.
“We have the recruitment going on for volunteers,” said Lapham. “I would be spinning my wheels if I don’t have something to put on their back.”
Lapham added he currently has no gear to dress any extra person that is added. He feels that without gear, it defeats the purpose of recruiting people to volunteer at the fire department.
Lastly, Lapham requested $7,000 in hazardous materials, that was then reduced to $3,000.
“We have state hazardous material in the city. As of the first of the year, the state is giving those to the city. It will become an asset for North Tonawanda,” said Lapham. “To equip this trailer and the city itself, you are talking about a quarter million dollars - with all the equipment monitoring devices and suits, the state has estimated that it will cost about $2,500 per year to maintain the equipment and replace it as needed.”
Lapham feels this would be an asset to the city and added it has already gained the city $546 in rescue billing.
Police Chief Randy Szukala also met with the council, however he only requested the bare minimum needed to run a police department.
Included in that proposal was three police cars, two marked and one unmarked and ideally he would like four additional bodies to add to the police department for street patrol.
All requests are pending the approval of the mayor and finally the council.
A public hearing will be held by the common council at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in the common council chambers at city hall, 216 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda, to review the 2013 preliminary budgets. Citizens attending the hearing have the right to provide written or oral comments and ask questions concerning the budgets.
A copy of the entire preliminary budget and message is on file at the City Clerk-Treasurer’s Office and may be inspected by any interested citizen from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., commencing on Friday, Oct. 26.
The 2013 Budget Adoption is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13.
There will be no common council meeting held on Election Day Nov. 6.