SYRACUSE — Syracuse department heads presented their proposed 2017 budgets during the Syracuse Town Council’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, July 19. The estimated working budget is $1,969,676.34, which is $110,676 under maximum levy.
The town manager’s budget is $217,508. Henry DeJulia, town manager, pointed out a decrease of 14.5 percent from the Oakwood Improvements line.
The proposed police budget is $1,071,100, which is an increase of 2.04 percent. Chief Jim Layne explained he added increases to line items, garage and motors, copy supplies, car repair, town utilities for the animal pen at the range and the wash bay and an increase for maintenance of the range. Other increases were for new equipment and software, and professional memberships. Layne also told the council he needs to replace one vehicle next year as well.
The proposed park budget is $421,207, an increase of $23,575. Tyler McLead, program coordinator for Syracuse Parks and Rec., explained some of the increased funds will be used to develop Laudeman Park, the property recently purchased from Syracuse Rotary. Ideas for development include a pavilion, walking path and parking as well as accessibility from Wildwood.
The street department’s proposed budget is $1,002,310, an increase of $17,616. The council did express concern because Robin Merchant, public works superintendent, suggested reducing sidewalk paving by $11,000.
The clerk-treasurer’s proposed budget is $620,958 an increase of $11,550 Clerk Treasurer Paula Kehr-Wicker said she did increase the amounts in health insurance, utilities, cleaning and mowing. She also wants to do several upgrades to town hall, including the rest rooms.
In the department reports, DeJulia noted he is still waiting for a letter regarding the resolution to annex the industrial park into the town limits from the Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission. A blighted house was demolished and cleaned up and the salt barn has been completed.
Councilman Bill Musser asked about the trail commission’s plan for a crosswalk at SR 13 and Pickwick. DeJulia said ideas on how to do that, are still being discussed.
Layne requested permission to purchase nine tasers for $10,024.96. The council approved the purchase.
McLead reviewed several past events and announced the park department will be hosting a kids’ Olympics for children kindergarten through fifth grade. The event will be held Aug. 27 and registration is now open. Call the park department at (574) 457-3440 for more details. The town wide garage sales will be Aug. 4-6, call the park department to have a sale put on the community listing.
Merchant gave a lengthy report on problems with the waste water treatment plant. A meeting is scheduled with Triad, the company overseeing the project to discuss the matter. Merchant said the problem is there was no sizing done before the new equipment was installed and its using too much power. Data was available to determine the correct size of the equipment needed, but instead industry standards were used and its not right.
The project is still expected to be completed on time in September. The council also approved spending $12,000 on paving around the new plant.
Merchant also submitted his proposed budget noting there was a surplus and put those funds in the equipment fund. The waste water budget has an increase of 1.79 percent over last year.