City budget still being finalized


Major items likely set, but cuts still sought

By Gary Abernathy - [email protected]



Mayor Drew Hastings, right, and council members, from left, Dick Donley, Rebecca Wilkin and Justin Harsha are shown at a Hillsboro City Council meeting earlier this week. Council is scheduled to meet Friday to finalize the 2017 budget.


Members of Hillsboro City Council’s Finance Committee and others are still finalizing budget numbers for 2017 in anticipation of a special meeting Friday night to approve next year’s financial blueprint for the city.

Finance Committee chair Dick Donley said Thursday he thinks the major items are set. Mayor Drew Hastings agreed, but said various budget items are still being questioned by several council members.

Donley said small employee wage increases are included in the budget, along with video body cams for the police department, which are part of a matching grant. Donley said water and sewer projects will be well-funded next year, including a continuation of sewer upgrades, and more street lighting for the uptown area is included in the budget.

Donley said he hoped that as next year progresses there will also be enough funds for more side street paving in addition to the major street work that is planned.

Donley said other items could be tweaked before a final vote Friday night, but even if some numbers change, he said the city will have a healthy carryover built into the budget.

Hastings said Thursday he has been hearing from council members who plan to introduce more changes to the budget, particularly in the area of cuts.

“There are a lot of emails going around between council members asking more questions and suggesting more areas where money can be saved,” said the mayor. “I agree with them on some of their concerns. On others, I don’t, but I think we can reach a sensible compromise.”

The latest draft of the budget shows $13.2 million in grand total appropriations, including $2.8 million for general government services, encompassing the offices of the mayor, auditor, law director, council, municipal court and other city offices, and $2.1 million for security items including the police department ($1.5 million) and the Paint Creek fire department contract ($582,000).

Future street paving, recreation items, bond retirement, water and sewer and various other routine services make up the bulk of the budget in its latest form.

Council is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Friday in the municipal courtroom at the Highland County Justice Center to consider final approval of the budget, with the Finance Committee meeting 15 minutes earlier to make its budget recommendation official. No other items will be dealt with by council Friday.

Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.

Mayor Drew Hastings, right, and council members, from left, Dick Donley, Rebecca Wilkin and Justin Harsha are shown at a Hillsboro City Council meeting earlier this week. Council is scheduled to meet Friday to finalize the 2017 budget.
http://timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/web1_drew-dick-becky-justin-Dec-2016.jpgMayor Drew Hastings, right, and council members, from left, Dick Donley, Rebecca Wilkin and Justin Harsha are shown at a Hillsboro City Council meeting earlier this week. Council is scheduled to meet Friday to finalize the 2017 budget.
Major items likely set, but cuts still sought

By Gary Abernathy

[email protected]

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