Pickerington City Council gave its unanimous approval Tuesday, Dec. 15, to a $7.45-million budget for 2010.

Pickerington City Council gave its unanimous approval Tuesday, Dec. 15, to a $7.45-million budget for 2010.

The budget will go into effect Jan. 1.

It represents a 1.8-percent increase over the city's $7.32-million budget for 2009, but provides for the resumption of street paving for the first time since 2007.

It also establishes funding for the Pickerington Police Department to add a police officer next year.

Council passed the measure without comment on Tuesday. Previously, Pickerington finance director Linda Fersch said she anticipated the city's general fund revenues will remain relatively flat in 2010.

Deputy finance director Chris Schornack also recently noted that the 2010 budget puts more emphasis on paying down city debt.

In 2010, the city will pay $695,000 toward general note obligations, compared to $240,000 this year.

In addition to paying off more debt, the budget sets aside $350,000 to repave city streets next year, and an additional $25,000 for spot sealing of cracking roadways.

Along with funds for a new police officer, the 2010 budget provides $20,000 to contract for public information officer services.

The 2010 budget includes spending reductions in the city manager's office from $157,575 in 2009 to $154,825 in 2010. This includes a likely decrease in salary for a new city manager, who is expected to be selected soon to replace Tim Hansley.

Hansley was fired in October. His salary at the time was $105,000 annually.

Likewise, the city's building regulations department is expected to receive a 19-percent cut, from $406,886 this year to $329,150 in 2010. Part of the reduction is due to a decision not to replace chief building inspector Paul Lane, who was fired Nov. 2 after interim city manager and Pickerington Police Chief Mike Taylor allegedly found pornographic materials on his city computer.

Lane was making $63,068 annually at the time of his dismissal.

According to Schornack, the city intends to contract for building inspection services. Money previously earmarked for the building regulations department will be used to help fund street maintenance and the additional police officer, he previously said.

The city also will use funds traditionally set aside for urban forestry to those two efforts in 2010 because urban forester Greg Ellis will retire Jan. 14 and won't be replaced.

Additionally, the city expects to see 1-percent savings from last year as the result of hiring full-time, in-house city engineer Greg Bachman in June. Spending for engineering services, which previously had been contracted out, will drop from $322,950 in 2009 to $319,150 in 2010.

Along with possible new spending for public information officer services, the budget calls for a 7.8-percent increase in funding to Mayor Mitch O'Brien's office.

The mayor's office will receive $48,505 next year, compared to $45,001 in 2009.

The 2010 budget also allocates $92,000 to the city's development department, much of which likely will be used to hire an economic development director. Hansley held the position from July 2006 to January 2008, prior to taking over as city manager. Last year, the city provided no funding for development.