As the 2019 fiscal year nears its end, Covington’s city leaders have passed on first reading a proposed $21.6 million budget for FY 2020.
“We are doing everything we can to pay off current debt in a timely manner, and we are seeking creative solutions, as well, such as trying to work out a lease deal for the biomass gasification facility purchased before I took office,” mayor Justin Hanson said last week in his weekly newsletter.
Though the proposal indicates the city will see $497,000 less in revenues, it should see a slight increase, from $125,000 to $140,000, in fines and penalties next year.
The police and fire departments may likely end up with budgets of $2.4 million and $1.8 million, respectfully, which is a $34,000 decrease for police and $8,900 increase for fire.
The police department's budget has decreased because the switch to a 10-hour shift greatly reduced its overtime necessity.
"We were spending so much in overtime before, but with the new 10-hour shifts we implemented in March we've drastically cut our spending there," said Hanson.
With the savings from overtime, the department is adding more training, two new officers and three patrol cars.
Further, Hanson said allowing rentals at the civic center, leasing city vehicles instead of purchasing them and seeking partnerships bring in revenue and keep other expenses down.
“It takes a dedicated, creative team working together to keep the wheels of creativity and budgeting grinding along in a productive fashion.”
It is the first year of Hanson’s five as mayor without fighting over non-profit donations.
Prior to 2015, approximately $250,000 was allotted for non-profit donations, but in 2018 donations were mostly eliminated.
Budget hearings will continue. The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, June 11.