Pickerington City Council on Dec. 18 approved a $11.97 million 2019 general-fund budget that will allow it to maintain levels of street paving and hire two additional police officers.

The budget represents a 1.17-percent decrease -- $141,000 -- from the city's 2018 budget amount, according to Finance Director Chris Schornack.

The city also will carry a reserve -- termed a "rainy-day fund" -- of approximately $5.97 million.

Among highlights of the 2019 budget is an appropriation of $215,000, which will fund salaries and benefits for two additional police officers.

The move will bolster the Pickerington Police Department's ranks from 32 to 34.

The police department will operate with an approximately $6.7 million budget in 2019. It is an increase over the $5.9 million 2018 budget.

For the fifth consecutive year, $1 million has been appropriated for the city's street maintenance program in 2019. That includes $800,000 for street resurfacing and $200,000 for curb and gutter maintenance.

Another $100,000 has been budgeted to resurface the Pickerington Community Pool parking lot.

"It has not had major repairs completed since the city has owned it," Schornack said. "The city purchased the pool in 2008."

There also is $66,300 in the budget for sidewalk work on West Columbus Street and $758,170 for the widening of Refugee Road.

The latter project is estimated to cost approximately $8.2 million, but is being supported by more than $7 million in 2019 grants from the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

City Manager Frank Wiseman said the city plans to spend at total of $162,000 in 2019 for two dump trucks, $160,000 for three police cruisers, $154,310 for a police dispatcher console and $36,500 for a leaf-removal machine.

"We are able to continue to meet our infrastructure and vehicle needs including streets, sidewalks and utilities," Wiseman said. "Three older police cars will be replaced and two dump trucks over 20 years old will be replaced. Additionally, we will add a hydraulic leaf remover to help with the removal of leaves next year. In the police department, the console used by our dispatchers will be upgraded to meet current needs to interact with other agencies quickly and efficiently."

The 2019 budget also calls for 2.8-percent wage increases for both union and non-union city employees.

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