The Finance Committee of Hillsboro City Council met Tuesday evening and made changes to the 2017 budget proposal, including the withdrawal of funds for body cameras for police after city officials learned that the police department already has four such cameras.
The body cams had been requested by former police Chief Todd Whited prior to his resignation on Dec. 9. But Dick Donley, chair of the Finance Committee, said Wednesday that police now say they no longer consider the cameras a priority. Mayor Drew Hastings said Wednesday that police say the cameras “are not a necessity right now.”
Hastings said that he and council learned that police already have four body cameras, and the matching grant that was obtained was for additional software. He said police indicated a bigger need for a new audio recorder to capture radio and telephone traffic.
Acting Police Chief Steve Browder confirmed those sentiments Wednesday, saying the bigger need was for a new audio recorder.
Tuesday’s meeting came about after a special meeting of council on Friday to approve the budget had resulted in no action due to last minute changes and the absence of city Auditor Gary Lewis. Lewis said he was unavailable due to celebrating his wedding anniversary, and that he had notified the council clerk that he would not be in attendance.
Donley said Lewis was present at Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting and was helpful answering questions and assisting the committee and the mayor in formulating the recommendation that will be made to the full council at a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Donley said total expenditures of $13,141,800 will be recommended to the full council.
Hastings said the budget will include another $100,000 for a sidewalk replacement program. He said the pilot program for the project – in which the city can offer to pay for sidewalks initially while property owners spread their repayments over the course of five years – “went really well,” and he wants to continue it.
Hastings said most street paving money for 2017 is in the form of a matching grant for an Ohio Department of Transportation project that will see all of High Street paved from the southern to the northern corporation limit.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.