Mill levy decreases; SRO position not in budget
Baldwin will again have a lower mill levy for 2005, but also once again the Baldwin schools will start the year without a school resource officer.
Baldwin City Council's approval of $11.4 million budget with a mill levy of 29.926, nearly a 4-mill decrease from the 2004 budget, includes money for an SRO position, but only if the city receives a federal grant to pay the SRO's salary, according to City Administrator Jeff Dingman.
"We have the position in the budget and the income from the grant in the budget," Dingman said. "Our intention is we wouldn't hire the SRO until the grant is awarded."
The federal grant would pay more than $42,000 for the SRO salary including benefits, and, as part of the grant, the city would be responsible for funding an additional $5,000 for other items such as equipment.
Police Chief Mike McKenna said Baldwin wouldn't know whether it received the grant until at least mid to late September.
Dingman said if the city received the grant, it wouldn't start the SRO position until January at the earliest.
Council Member Amy Cleavinger wanted to know if the city could start the SRO position at the beginning of the school year, regardless of whether Baldwin was awarded the grant.
Dingman said if an SRO position was included into the budget without the grant money included, it would raise the levy 2 mills.
Mayor Ken Hayes said that wasn't an option because the budget had already been published.
"We can't increase it now," he said.
So without the federal grant, the city won't have an SRO, at least not when school starts in a couple of weeks.
"So, with a high degree of certainty, we're going to start the school year without an SRO?" Council Member Ken Wagner said.
"That is correct," Dingman said.
The absence of the SRO position sets the 2005 mill levy at 29.926, down from the 2004 levy of 34.079 mills. Total expenditures for 2005 are up a little at $11.4 million compared to 2004's $10.1 million.
Wagner praised the city's ability to consistently lower the mill levy for at least the third consecutive year.
"I think when you can take a look at the consistent reduction in the mill levy like this city has, obviously you're doing something right," he said.
In other business at Monday's meeting, the city council:
- Approved in a 5-0 vote to enter an agreement with Lowenthal, Singleton, Webb and Wilson to perform the 2004 fiscal year audit.
- Approved in a 5-0 vote the final plat of the Irvine-Walter addition at 12th and Indiana streets.