JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown City Council’s review of the 2015 budget continued this week with council members meeting Monday night with Public Safety director and police chief Harry Snellings, along with deputy fire chief Chet Harvey.
Both men provided council members with details of their budget requests, compared with what Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi had settled on in his final executive budget.
Overtime and equipment continue to be the two biggest concerns for both departments. Snellings said that an increase amount of drug trafficking in the city continues to keep local police busy but he believes they are making an impact. However, he said that obviously more resources directed to the police department would result in more success in he fight against drug traf
Harvey said that the fire department is facility issues, with Engine House 5 on Fairmount Ave. in need of roof repair. The fire department also needs to have its SUV vehicle replaced – which is used to respond to emergency calls throughout the city which average about 2000 calls per year.
So far the council has met with the Public Safety, Public Facilities and Parks and Rec departments.
Jamestown City Council President Greg Rabb said based on what he’s heard so far, it’s obviously going to once again be an issue of what the city needs vs. what it can afford – especially when it comes to public safety.
“Nothing is more important than public safety,” Rabb said. “The council, the mayor – we all agree that we are dealing with some serious problems and we’re actually finally making progress out there. And so these departments are really important to us to keep the bad activities out of town and put a stop to it once and for all.”
Earlier this month, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi presented a budget that calls for $34.7 million in spending and includes a tax rate increase of 2.86 percent. However, because that increase is below the tax cap, the state would provide a rebate to all residential property owners during October 2015.
The city council will continue meeting with department heads next Monday night, Nov. 3. After that, they will begin budget deliberations. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 17. The council has until Dec. 1 to finalize and approve the spending plan.