City Council to begin budget sessions today


By Gary Budzak - gbudzak@civitasmedia.com



The first of three work sessions for Delaware’s proposed 2016 budget will begin today at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.

Department heads will discuss with members of City Council any major changes in next year’s budget and answer any questions. Council has until the end of the year to pass the budget.

Up first will be presentations on economic development by director Sean Hughes; the police department by Chief Bruce Pijanowski; information technology by chief information officer Scott Stowers; the fire department by Chief John Donahue; community affairs by coordinator Lee Yoakum; and the legal department by city attorney Darren Shulman.

The next work session is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. After consideration of three personnel ordinances, there will be presentations on public utilities by director Brad Stanton; planning department by director David Efland; administrative services by human resources manager Jessica Feller and Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker; public works, airport and engineering by director Bill Ferrigno; parks and natural resources by superintendent Stacy Davenport; finance department by director Dean Stelzer; and the city manager’s office by City Manager Tom Homan.

The final work session will be part of the regular council meeting on Dec. 14, with presentations on the municipal court with judges David Sunderman, Marianne Hemmeter and clerk Cindy Dinovo; and other funds by Homan and Stelzer.

If necessary, an additional work session may take place Dec. 17. Council is expected to adopt the budget as part of the year-end meeting on Dec. 21.

The budget estimates revenues of $19,478,000 for 2016; and the expenditures are estimated to be $19,456,219. The revenue is projected to be 5.9 percent over the 2015 budget; the expenditures expected to increase 5.8 percent from 2015. The fund balance, or rainy day fund, is estimated to be $3,319,254, which meets council’s target of 17 percent. The total appropriations of all funds is $107,906,783.

In a letter to council, Homan said the 2016 budget is balanced and seeks to address some of the public’s requests from a “Community Attitudes Survey.”

As a result of the survey, Homan said the budget includes: adding a full-time police officer; increasing funding to demolish blighted properties; hiring a parks and natural resources director; hiring a part-time human resources coordinator; and promoting Delaware as a place to live, work and do business.

The budget includes potential initiatives the city will pursue in 2016, such as: a web marketing campaigns for the economic development department; progress on the Entrepreneur Center; beginning work on updating the city’s comprehensive plan, with completion expected in 2020; increasing the city’s water rates; a downtown parking assessment study; and a 0.15-percent income tax increase to fund street and road work.

By Gary Budzak

gbudzak@civitasmedia.com

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.