Licking County News

2013 Pataskala budget

Council questions need for suggested new jobs

By

Pataskala City Council reviewed the proposed 2013 budget during a Nov. 14 work session, and several council members asked about specific job positions the budget would add.

The finance committee previously reviewed the budget, which projects decreases in both revenue and expenditures and suggests the city hire several employees and purchase new equipment.

The proposed budget would change a part-time position in the planning and zoning department to a full-time code-enforcement officer; add a human-resources director; add a full-time street department employee; add one full-time police officer in 2012 and one part-time police officer in 2013; and add a part-time parks department coordinator and devote one of the three seasonal public service workers to park maintenance.

Councilman Mike Fox said he would support adding a full-time employee in the parks department and devoting one public service worker to the parks department.

Councilman Bryan Lenzo agreed, calling the parks "a vital city resource that demands full-time responsibility."

Lenzo said he appreciates volunteers who have helped maintain and operate parks and said as the volunteers have less time to work in the parks, the city may need "to take back this resource and build it into the jewel that it should be."

Fox questioned the hiring of a human-resources director, saying the city is adding positions without adding residents.

City Administrator Timothy Boland said the new positions would not return the city to the level of staffing in effect prior to the 2009 layoffs.

Pataskala Mayor Steve Butcher said also he does not support adding a human-resources director because when the finance director's position became full-time in June, it was understood that job would include a human-resources department.

Finance Director James Nicholson said he splits his duties between the two and doesn't have enough time to do both. He also questioned if the city could have liability issues being without a human-resources director.

Lenzo agreed, saying Pataskala wouldn't operate without a finance director so it shouldn't operate without a human-resources director. He said the position probably would pay for itself within a year and he called it an "important" position for the city.

The estimated cost of the part-time parks coordinator and full-time human-resources director is about $80,000, according to City Council President Dan Hayes.

Hayes said he favors adding a part-time parks coordinator and dedicating one public service employee to parks.

Instead of hiring a human-resources director, Hayes said, Pataskala should use the rest of the funds to add more equipment to the 2013 budget, perhaps by replacing a third police cruiser and increasing the capital-improvements budget.

The proposed 2013 budget also includes purchasing the following equipment: a light-duty vehicle for administrative staff members; a truck for the planning and zoning department; a global-information system for the city and utilities department; new software for the finance department; a tractor and mower, two pickup trucks with utility beds and a 1-ton dump truck for the service department; an upgrade package for the police department's radio system; a copier; two police cruisers; a pickup truck for the water department; and a pickup truck for the sewer department.

The water department also needs a "permanent sludge pump and piping system," which is expected to cost $82,500, Utility Director Nathan Coey said.

The department also needs to clean out and remove sludge from the wastewater treatment plant's storage, he said. The sludge cleaning and removal is estimated to cost $300,000 and was taken out of the department's budget.

Councilman Mike Compton asked if the city should purchase new vehicles or look for used trucks, for example.

Coey said used vehicles with 50,000 to 100,000 miles can cost up to $10,000 and the city often can purchase new vehicles for $14,000 using the state's bidding system.

Nicholson said some of the vehicle costs estimated in the budget could be high, since he included $20,000 for each pickup truck.

City Council will review the second reading of the budget at its Nov. 19 meeting.

 

Comments