Hilliard City Council members are on track to finalize a 2014 budget at a special meeting Dec. 16.

Hilliard City Council members are on track to finalize a 2014 budget at a special meeting Dec. 16.

An ordinance appropriating general-fund operating expenses for 2014 is scheduled for a second reading and public hearing Dec. 9.

Department directors and police Chief Doug Francis outlined their specific budget requests Nov. 25 for the Finance and Administrative Committee. Council members had few questions while listening to the budget presentations.

Hilliard's estimated general-fund budget for 2014 is $21.4 million and represents a 5 percent increase compared to the $20.4 million appropriated for general-fund expenses for 2013.

General-fund revenue for 2014 also is estimated at $21.4 million. The budget projects a current carryover of approximately $6,000.

Finance Director David Delande said he estimates the city's income-tax revenue will increase 7 percent in 2014. He said many Verizon employees will relocate in 2014 from a Verizon Wireless office in Dublin to the Verizon Business office on Britton Parkway.

Safety department

The safety department's budget for 2014 is $8.8 million and reflects a 6.6-percent increase compared to the $8.1 million appropriated for the department in 2013.

While the department will lay off the last of its radio dispatchers in January, those savings will be absorbed and even exceeded by the hiring of new personnel, salary increases for existing personnel and contract obligations to the Dublin Division of Police for providing fire and EMS dispatching services for Hilliard and Norwich Township, Francis said.

Francis said the increases are in part attributed to a union-negotiated 3-percent salary increase and a 27th bi-weekly pay period in the 2014 calendar year.

Francis told council members the department plans to hire two police officers, returning the force to the staffing level of 2009 -- when the city began a practice of not filling officer vacancies created by retirements or advancements.

"Our jail costs have also increased" to $79 daily to incarcerate people at the Franklin County jail who Hilliard police arrest, Francis said. An additional $10,000 is included in the 2014 budget for that purpose.

He said $5,000 is needed for contract increases for animal control, specifically the removal and disposal of deer struck and killed by motorists.

The budget also includes $15,000 to refurbish the department's shooting range, a first since it opened five years ago.

"They need refurbished every five years, so it's due," Francis said.

The police department also set aside $10,000 to decommission the radio room, which will no longer be needed after Jan. 13 when all dispatching services are transferred to Dublin.

Other budget requests

* The 2014 budget of the recreation and parks department is $2.9 million, a 3-percent increase from the almost $2.8 million allocated for 2013 expenses.

Within this amount, 71 percent is for personnel expenses.

* The budget of the administrative division of the service department is $2.1 million, a 2.5-percent increase compared to the $2.05 million budgeted for 2013.

Contractual services account for 92 percent of the budget.

* The budget of the mayor is down 15 percent for 2014, which is attributable to the movement of a line item from the mayor's office budget to the budget of the general government.

The mayor's office budget in 2014 is $183,945, down from the $218,000 appropriated for 2013.

"We've moved the expenses for FrazierHeiby (the city's marketing and promotional provider) from my office into the general government)," Mayor Don Schonhardt said. "FrazierHeiby does things for all of our city's departments, not just the mayor's office, so it's a better fit in the general government budget."

The offsetting expense was transferred to the budget of the general government, which shows an increase of 4.7 percent in 2014. The general government budget in 2014 is $1.8 million.

* The law department's budget increased 3.1 percent in 2014, with a budget of $353,483.

* The finance department's budget increased 4 percent in 2014, with a budget of $900,261.

* The budget of the human-resources department increased 6.7 percent in 2014, with a budget of $383,475.

* The budget of the economic-development department reflects a 31-percent increase in 2014, with a budget of $226,233, up from a 2013 appropriation of $171,523.

The 2014 budget includes a $35,000 line item for contractual services. Only $500 had been appropriated in 2013.

"We need to be creative on our end and I think consultants will help with that," Economic Development Director David Meeks said about the challenge to build "spec offices," or offices constructed for specific clients and purposes.