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October 29, 2012

New Albany budget vote tonight: $20M budget up about $1.2M from last year

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany City Council is slated to take a final ballot this evening on next year’s $20 million general fund budget, which includes a 2 percent pay increase for most employees, a $100,000 bump in parks spending and an increase in street department funding.

Officials from Mayor Jeff Gahan’s administration said Friday there shouldn’t be a scramble at the end of 2013 to balance the budget as has happened in recent years.

Shane Gibson, an attorney for the city who assists with financial matters for the administration, said the council will be voting on a “balanced proposed budget” at 7:30 p.m.

The budget and related salary ordinances were approved on first and second readings earlier this month without much discussion from the council. Aided by the remainder of a federal public safety grant and the shifting of $600,000 in 911 dispatch costs to a different account, the scheduled general fund budget is about $1.2 million more next year than in 2012.

The 2011 budget had to be offset with a $2.3 million appropriation last November, as there was a rollover of expenses from previous years due to shortfalls that weren’t funded.

Gibson said such a scenario as in 2011 isn’t expected for 2013.

City employees except fire and police workers will receive a 2 percent raise next year if the budget is approved. While other city workers haven’t received a pay increase in several years, police and fire employees have an annual 1 percent longevity raise built into their contracts.

The budget is being voted on in a special session to meet the state requirement that the final ballot not be cast until at least 10 days after the public hearing on the plan.

The public hearing was during the Oct. 18 regular council meeting, and the city has until the end of the month to approve the budget.

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