City Council To Continue Budget Discussions

The focus will be on the fire and police departments for Jamestown City Council when budget discussions continue Monday.

The budget work session will start at 6:30 p.m., when Chet Harvey, deputy fire chief, and Harry Snellings, police chief and public safety director, discuss their departments, said Anthony Dolce, Ward 2 councilman and City Council Finance Committee chairman.

Last week, the first 2014 budget work session started with the department heads from the Public Works, Parks, Recreation and Youth Services departments talking about their proposed spending plans for next year. Dolce said the focus of the discussion was on the Public Works and Parks department budgets.

“They are equipment-heavy, and we went through the needs they have and where they are with equipment,” he said. “They had a whole list of equipment that they are in dire need of. We asked them to prioritize what pieces of equipment they have to have, and we will look at our options. With the way the budget is, it is highly unlikely we will be able to put major pieces of equipment back into the budget.”

Dolce said, in past years, sometimes there is money left in the city’s contingency budget from a current year that can be used toward the purchase of equipment.

“We could look at buying some small pieces of equipment from that money instead of budgeting it for next year,” he said. “We have to be creative to keep equipment in good shape.”

Dolce said no official changes were made to the executive budget, which was released earlier this month. Dolce said council members usually wait to hear from all department heads before discussing possible changes to the tentative spending plan.

“At the end of the process, we could make amendments to the mayor’s budget however we determine. We have the option to do that,” he said. “The Finance Committee steer heads the discussion to make changes to the budget. Of course, at any time, a council member can make a recommendation (to change the budget), but we usually wait till the end.”

On Oct. 8, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi presented his proposed 2014 budget that included a tax levy increase of $386,920, or 2.68 percent. The tax levy is the money raised through property taxes. The tentative tax levy total is $14,824,747. The tax rate is being proposed to increase by 55 cents, to a total of $22.18 per $1,000 assessed property value. The total budget increased $385,014, or 1.6 percent, to a total of $33,603,149.

The release of the executive’s budget is the start of the budget process. By Dec. 1, the Jamestown City Council needs to pass a budget or the original executive budget goes into effect for the city’s fiscal year, which is Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Teresi said the legislative branch – City Council – has authority over the budget. If council adopts the budget by the Dec. 1 deadline, Teresi then has a week to decide if he will veto any line item in the budget. If Teresi does veto an item, the council then will have a chance to override it with a supermajority vote.

Other business City Council will discuss Monday includes:

A resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a grant agreement with the Chautauqua County Region Community Foundation for $800 for the 2013 Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department Summer Bandshell Concert Series.

A resolution approving a capital project for the acquisition of property located at 2835 Curtis St. Extension by Jamestown Community College for future campus expansion.