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Police and water budget discussed

Sarah Harrington

(4/29) During the April town meeting, the Thurmont commissioners continued their work on the proposed budget for the 2017 fiscal year, focusing their discussion on the proposed budget for police department and public safety.

The new proposed budget for the police department is a small increase from the previous year, says Police Chief Greg Eyler. This increase includes pay raises.

The Police Department is anticipating additional increases in some other costs as well. The department is anticipating an increase from $27,766 in fiscal year 2016 to $28,626 in fiscal year 2017 for communication expenses. In 2015 the budget for this item was $21,000.

The anticipated increase for this year has made town officials question the amount that has been set aside for this item. Eyler explained that the department’s communication expenses included cellphones for the officers and connections for their in-car radios and computers.

In the fiscal year 2017 the department’s expenses are expected to be $1,063,930. This amount does not include funds set aside for bulletproof vests and in-car cameras. The department has set aside $41,293 for those items.

In past years, the town has budgeted funds for public safety differently. In 2015 the Police Department’s portion for expenses related to Crossing Guards was $7,046, in 2014 they budgeted $1,899. In the upcoming fiscal year, an increase to $17,038 was noted but most of that will be allocated to salaries for two crossing guards. Linda Joyce, the town’s chief financial officer, moved the expenses for crossing guards to the town’s public safety section of the town’s general fund.

In the past, the town has included crossing guards in the highway and streets section of the budget. According to Joyce, the relocation of these expenses might give a false impression that the costs for public safety had skyrocketed, but it hasn’t. The town’s Police Department handles Public Safety and thereby will be responsible for hiring the town’s new crossing guards.

Town officials also took the time to discuss the water fund for the upcoming fiscal year. The total revenue for the water is expected to be $1,023,862; the expected expenses for the fund are $756,680. This did not include $126,000 for capital projects such as replacing a well pump which is expected to cost $42,000, as well as $40,000 to replace one of the water department’s pick-up trucks.

Town officials are scheduled to vote on the final fiscal year 2017 budget in June.

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