Revenues remain flat, debt is low, and the proposed budget it balanced. Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell Presents his budget message to City Council.
Mayor Newell says he's spoken with many council members even prior to the meetings about the proposed budget.
He says while not many things will look much different than in years past, he does hope to look at raises for city employees. Since becoming mayor in 2006 and bending to the recession, nearly 15-percent of city jobs have been eliminated.
"We had frozen longevity, we reduce benefits because of the recession and so and so forth. More importantly we've reduced a number of positions and created our own pool of money for these raises," says Mayor Newell. "Many of these employees have taken on additional duties when others have left that we have not hired and now, it's time to reward them for that."
Mayor Newell also talks about updating city equipment, that has been over looked for the past four years. At the first budget hearing he plans to go into depth on each of these items.
Also taking a look at the first responders. He acknowledges the high mileage, older Parkersburg Police cruisers that are still on the road, so he looks to replace some of those. The Fire Department is also being looked at for repairs to the three stations that were built over 80 years ago.
Also during the meeting, a brief presentation from the West Virginia Municipal League concerning Home Rule-- something Mayor Newell supports. It allows cities to make their own decisions on issues including taxes. State legislature would have to pass it.
The first of the budget hearings will be next Tuesday, February 19 at 6:30.
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