Tuesday, March 8, 2016

AGENDA FIXING SESSION #1




Unfortunately I had to leave last night’s Council meeting just before the Public general Comment period. Thus I missed the rancor of the talks relating to Police Lieutenant Reid.

The Agenda fixing session was without any surprises. Once again Councilor Taylor was absent although this is the meeting where any questions about the ordinances and resolutions should surface instead of being raised for the first time at the business session.

One of the few Councilor interchanges occurred at the beginning of the meeting during the Discussion/Action Item when Council President Storch reported that $2490.00 had been spent to reimburse Councilors Storch, Goode, and Taylor form attending the 2016 Chamber of Commerce meeting in DC, Storch noted that as Council President he had to pre-approve the allocation of funds for Council members use. He also noted that Councilors were appraised of the meeting

Councilor Rivers objected that in the past the Council itself had given the approval. Storch insisted that the Council rules charges him with that responsibility.

Director West and CFO Steinberg gave a presentation on the 2016 Budget which will be introduced next Monday and if after hearings accepted will then go to the State for approval.

Among the highlights of their report was a notation that the City’s Bond rating had improved resulting in refinancing which would reduce the debt. One of the goals is reducing overtime cots which primarily are in the Public Safety (Police and Fire Department s) portion of the costs.

About 60% of the Personnel costs are accounted for by these two Departments. It was mentioned that the Fire Department5 had gotten a hand on controlling the overtime for2016, but that it remains a problem for the understaffed Police with a large number of retirees this year. There are a number of potential officers in training who will soon be eligible for employment plus a potential for another group later this year.

West felt that by the end of this year the overtime problem will have been addressed.

Of the remaining personnel costs 33% goes to the city government and 7% for Department Heads and Management.

A further breakdown of Salary & Wages costs is: 65% to Police and Fire, 14% for Social Services and Evreation, 10% Administration.7% Public Works and 4% to the Library.

Rivers questioned the projected Insurance allocations, and West stated that this was based on the State regulations based on 2015 costs.

The net result will be a $94.00 raise on the average Plainfield assessed home value at $113,000.00. More later.

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