At the City’s second budget work session, Police Chief Ford Hayman, Fire Chief Jeff Blackledge and Roy Edwards, Director of Community Development, met with Clinton City officials, Mayor Phil Fisher and six of the seven Board of Aldermen at 5:30 p.m. on August 6 in the Brighton Park Assembly Room to discuss budget ideas being considered for FY 2020-21.
Edwards reported that Community Development is actually lower than last year, with operating supplies down by $3,300. The total budget for Community Development in 2019-20 was $344,603.
Fire Department Chief Blackledge said the discussion about budget items for 2020-21 is actually about the same as last year.
“We used less supplies, so we have stock [from 2019-20],” Blackledge said. The department uses its own personnel to test equipment, such as hoses, and they have pushed more in-house education sessions to reduce costs to $3,500.
“We had a little more cost for extra protective stuff (i.e. PPE equipment).” Every call requires that personnel wear a mask, and, for COVID-19 calls, a gown, mask and gloves are required. Chief Blackledge said that only two people go in on the COVID-19 calls as extra security.
Calls for in-home assistance, such as fall-down calls, have gone up, likely because more people are homebound during the pandemic.
“We used to get ten to fifteen people who waked in for blood pressure tests,” he said.
Police Chief Ford Hayman reported that fifty-five of the sixty positions in the police department have been filled, with two more in the process of completing requirements to join the force.
“We have slowed way down, as it is a contact-type business,” Hayman said. “Not a lot of citations and not putting people in jail unless they have to because of COVID-19.”
CPD still has $30,000 in federal wireless funds, and Hayman said after October the department will look at that again. The CPD’s budget ideas for funding are about the same as the 2019-20 year’s budget, Hayman said.
The yearly budget discussion work sessions are part of the process in which the Mayor and Board of Aldermen meet with department heads to discuss budget requests. Board members have the opportunity to ask questions of department heads. These meetings are the ground work for what will become the proposed fiscal year budget.
All budget meetings are open to the public, and the list of meetings can be viewed at www.ClintonMS.org/Budget.
Upcoming budget meetings, which will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Brighton Park Assembly Room, 530 Brighton Park Drive, include:
August 10, 2020 – Parks and Recreation Department, Therapeutic Recreation Department and Economic Development Department
August 11, 2020 – Main Street, Olde Towne Depot, Visitor Center and Communications Department Budgets
August 12, 2020 – General Discussion of all budgets (if necessary)
The 2020/21 Budget public hearing will be September 15, 2020, in the Municipal Courtroom.
The 2019/20 fiscal year budget was adopted on September 13, 2019. For the 2020 fiscal year, the City of Clinton, Mississippi, millage rate will be 44.49 mills.
By Katherine R. Dougan
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