By Randy Bell
In a September 12 meeting which lasted all of two minutes, the Clinton Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a spending plan for the City in the fiscal year beginning in October. The $24.04 million budget doesn’t raise taxes but takes advantage of approximately $500,000 in additional tax revenue resulting from increased property values.
City employees will receive three per cent raises, and some department heads will see salary increases ranging from ten per cent to eighteen per cent. Clinton’s budget has grown by $10 million since 2014.
Ward 1 Alderwoman Karen Godfrey says she is pleased with the budget, although it doesn’t include more money for members of the Board, something she had pushed for during the early discussions.
“All the department heads got most of what they wanted and needed for their departments,” Godfrey said. “And then we have some extra stuff that’s nice to have. The most exciting thing [is] that we’re going to be able to spend some money on the parks.”
In August, Godfrey suggested a pay increase for Board members, who haven’t gotten a raise in their $15,000 annual salaries in years.
“When it comes right down to it, if you don’t have enough money, then that’s one of those things that goes to the wayside,” she says. “We will do the same job, regardless of what we get paid. But it does seem crazy the amount of hours that we spend and that’s what [the salary] is.”
Police Chief Ford Hayman says he is happy with what his department will be getting.
“Our big ticket items this year are five police cars outfitted with emergency equipment, and then we got two more positions added to our budget. That’s good. It moves us from sixty-two to sixty-four [authorized positions]. We’re working really, really hard to fill that, to reach that number.”
The City budget also sets aside money to upgrade Clinton’s firefighting apparatus.
“We’re getting a new fire truck [at] the first of the year,” says Fire Chief Jeff Blackledge. “[And] we’re going to put in the works getting a new ladder truck that is needed for the City. We’re very pleased with that.”
If all the money that’s budgeted is spent, the City will have a projected balance of $63,583 at the end of the fiscal year.