Havelock commissioners went from department to department trimming money from the proposed 2015-16 budget during a three-hour work session last week.


Havelock commissioners went from department to department trimming money from the proposed 2015-16 budget during a three-hour work session last week.



Among the cuts, the board decided against funding $59,000 for a field training officer for the fire department. The position would have been part of a 13-member increase in fire department personnel, some of which would have been paid for through a grant. However, the city has declined to apply for the grant, meaning the fire department will stay roughly the same size for the time being.



Commissioners also decided against paying $33,000 for a new floor at the Public Safety Building that houses the police and fire departments.



Board members cut $44,000 out of a $132,000 request for a new backhoe for public services. Instead, commissioners urged a less expensive alternative.



The board rejected a $25,000 sidewalk repair project at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center and refused to hire a part-time administrator at the center for $9,360.



While making cuts, board members did agree in principle to pay for other items, including $5,000 for new chairs and tables at the tourist center as well as $5,650 for the Havelock Appearance Commission.



The board also agreed to pay $16,000 toward the city’s portion of a Recreation Trails Grant match for improvements to a walking path and construction of a bridge across McCotter Canal, a project that had been approved in 2012. Bathroom facilities at Walter B. Jones Park will receive $30,000 in improvements.



The board decided it would be a good idea to pay $70,000 for a new water well off McCotter Boulevard.



The board thought that a request for $7,000 to add parking stops to the parking lot at the recreation complex should be funded with Recreation Association fees.



The board held off making decisions on other items, including $13,000 for Tourist and Event Center main hall light replacements, $8,000 for a new large screen replacement at the center, $60,000 for drainage improvements that threaten a home in MacDonald Downs, $22,000 for mulch on Main Street, $22,500 to pay for three part-time police officers, $12,500 for police department overtime, $2,000 for police school training, $75,178 to resurface the parking lot at the city hall, $26,400 toward possible air-conditioning unit replacements and $2,000 to promote a public services employee.



Commissioners are scheduled to meet to discuss the budget at 6 p.m. Thursday at Havelock City Hall. Items expected to come up during the session include funding for the Slocum Creek park project, property purchases including possible acquisition of the old Phoenix Recycling site near Tucker Creek, wayfinding signs, street maintenance, purchase of a replacement fire vehicle and recreation bleachers, among other items.



The proposed budget for 2015-16 is about $17.09 million and includes a property tax rate increase of 2.5 cents per $100 in property value as well as water increases. Based on the average home value and average water use in the city, the increase would be about $68.38 per year.