The New Albany Police Department will add a second-in-command position to its roster in 2020.

As the department has increased in size and expanded its level of service along with the growing city, and as the overall complexity of calls for service has grown greater, the department's administrative responsibilities have expanded, said Chief Greg Jones.

"The position will allow our supervisors to dedicate more time to directing the work of the department's patrol functions, communications, investigations and specialty positions," Jones said.

The new position is included in the city's 2020 budget, which council members approved 6-0 on Dec. 2. Council member Matt Shull was absent.

The stage was set for the new position in a charter amendment voters approved in November.

The amendment request, designated as Issue 27 by the Franklin County Board of Elections, will take effect Jan. 1.

Most of the changes were housekeeping in nature, according to New Albany city attorney Mitch Banchefsky, but one labeled any police positions above the level of sergeant as unclassified.

Officers at sergeant rank and below have been classified employees (meaning they can't be fired without cause) and would continue to be, Banchefsky said in an interview earlier this year. The chief was the department's only unclassified employee, so the change would help the department if it chose to add other higher-ranked leaders, he said.

In addition to the leadership position, which has not been given a title, the 2020 budget for the police department includes a lead dispatcher, a property-room manager and a police officer, said finance director Bethany Staats.

The officer would bring the total number of officers to 21 temporarily to accommodate retirements, she said.

A 21st officer would bring the department's roster of sworn officers to 26, according to city spokesman Scott McAfee. That figure includes four sergeants and Jones, he said.

The police department's 2020 operating expenditures are projected at $5,791,939, according to the 2020 budget. The 2019 figure was $5,087,010.

Other new positions included in the 2020 budget are two in the development department, two in the service department and one in the administration department, Staats said. That would bring the development department to 15, the service department to 30 and the administration department to 10, according to the 2020 budget.

Despite the new positions, the city's labor costs remain relatively flat, Staats said -- they typically represent about 60% to 64% of total city costs annually.

The budget also includes a 2.75% cost-of-living increase for nonunion staff members and a 3.9% increase in insurance costs, she said.

The city's current staff of 93 includes 54 nonunion employees, McAfee said. The 2020 budget includes 62 nonunion employees, he said.

Next year, the city's revenue also is expected to increase.

The projected revenue for the general fund in 2020 is estimated at $26,245,662 -- a 7.41% increase over the projected revenue for 2019, Staats said.

Because income-tax revenue represents about 85% of the city's annual revenue, that money primarily can be credited with the revenue increase, Staats said. The health of the economy, new businesses and construction within the city's business park are factors that could play into the increase, she said.

Projected general-fund expenditures for next year are estimated at $21,109,955, Staats said.

The total operating revenue for 2019 is expected to be $24,435,358, whereas the total operating expenditures expected to be $19,360,602, according to the 2020 budget.

The general fund includes city services, but it does not include capital projects, debt service or grant revenue with restricted purposes, McAfee said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah