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UPDATE: Parkersburg City Council Sets First Reading For Final Budget

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UPDATE 2/21/2014 9:45 AM

Parkersburg City Council members discussed their budget again Thursday after making corrections to Monday's suggestions.

At this point the budget has passed, which includes new police cars and a fire truck.

City council will reconvene on March 11th with a first reading of the final budget and then a public budget hearing on March 25th.


UPDATE 2/19/2014 9:35 AM

A tedious yet important task for the Parkersburg City Council Tuesday night, which held its first budget hearing.

Going page by page, line by line, the council discussed the $26 million proposed budget.

The police department is looking to add 10 new cars, while the fire department is looking to replace a 25-year-old fire truck.

Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said, "I don't think there will be any opposition to it. We've got many cars over a hundred thousand miles. It's really come down to if council didn't want us to provide that service."

Revisions will be made to the budget before its final approval at the next meeting.


Updated: 11:15 P.M. 2/11/2014

Mayor Bob Newell made his proposals Tuesday night for how the city of Parkersburg's money should be spent for the 12 months beginning in July.

The city has crunched the numbers, and projects it will have $26 million to spend next year. That's a slight increase from this year.

"We are cautiously optimistic there will be a slight increase in business and occupation taxes and property taxes," Mayor Newell told city council Tuesday. "We also know there will be an increase in hotel-motel taxes for the coming year. And we are confident we will meet the projected carryover that is budgeted in the current year."

While there are no new expenditures, the mayor wants to replace an array of vehicles that are getting older. That's starting with police cruisers, some of which are a model that's no longer in production.

Part of the reason for the need, ironically, has to do with the planned addition of resource officers for the city's middle schools.

"We have 13 makes and models that have well over 100,000 miles, that are in day to day use," said Police Chief Joe Martin. "There's a need for replacement, for sure."

Also to be replaced: several 25-year old dump trucks and a fire truck.

Having just paid off other city purchases that were leased, the mayor hopes council will allow the city to buy the new vehicles outright, rather than through a lease-purchase system that could take years to pay off.

Council also approved spending $20,000 for the next phase of a study for a new baseball park.

Construction of the park is part of an effort to bring a professional team to the area.

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It's still winter but another season is fast approaching.

For West Virginia communities it's the season of tough choices, called budget season.

The mayor says it will be a "bread and butter" budget.

The only major proposals for the new fiscal year involve vehicle and equipment purchases.

The city is looking to replace ten police cruisers and a number of 25-year old trucks, including one of its fire trucks.

Some city employees received pay increases last year, but whether that happens this year depends on how much money remains in this year's budget.

"We'll revisit it by the end of summer, to see if there's money available for things like wages," says Mayor Bob Newell. "But more importantly, we need to get this equipment replaced, because some of it is 25 years old."

West Virginia cities have to present their budget proposals for the coming fiscal year by February 15.

The budget Mayor Newell will propose to council is for the fiscal year beginning this July 1.


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