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Budget Works Shop for City’s 2014 Budget

August 20, 2013

08/21/13 The budget for the city of Plymouth is set and even with a two percent pay increase, city officials and department heads were able to keep the bottom line below that two percent.

In 2013 the city total budget was for $11,082,572. This year’s final bottom line will be $11,301,788 a raise of 1.98 percent. Most departments held the line for the coming year and the completion of several projects made a big difference in several areas.

Plymouth’s storm sewer bottom line was helped by the completion last year of a $60,000 project according to Utilities Superintendent Donnie Davidson. Taking the price tag off the coming budget enabled him to drop that number out of this year’s bottom line for a 25 percent decrease. City building and maintenance bottom line also dropped 14.66 percent even with the price tag for the parking lot at Water and Garro Street – the sight of the old Bauer Building.

One big ticket item debated was the plan by Park Superintendent Mike Hite to replace the lighting at Bill Nixon Field in Centennial Park. The field is used by the Plymouth High School baseball team as well as the American Legion Post 27 Diamond Spyders. Each team hosts a number of regional and state wide tournaments over the course of the year and the Diamond Spyders in particular play a significant number of night games in the course of their season.

The current lighting system is the fields original – considered state of the art at that time – from 1973. Hite said that the 40 year age on the system alone along with the resulting wear and tear was reason to replace the system. Similar lighting systems on other fields around the park have already been replaced due to significant safety concerns.

Councilman Shawn Grobe questioned the replacement of the lights at a price tag of $198,000. Grobe pointed to the small percentage of time that the lights were actually in use and even with the significant savings the department would see in utility cost and efficiency of a new system saw the “pay back” on the investment stretching out to as long as 10 years.

Mayor Mark Senter stated that the system was old and needed to be replaced and Grobe said that he understood the safety issue but also wanted to come out “close to flat” on any increase in city spending.

Hite held much of the rest of his budget to 2013 levels in anticipation of the capital project, even though his department will take up maintenance of another city facility – River Park Square – in the coming year.

Work to improve the city airport continues in the coming budget at a slight increase over 2013 levels. Improvements to hangars, attachment to city sewer and fuel costs brought a jump of just over $20,000 for the coming year.

Fire Chief Rod Miller was able to lower his budget by around 4 percent but did say he was unsure of a line item for medical supplies for EMT’s.  He stated that St. Joseph Hospital of Marshall County had provided some disposable items such as defibrillator pads and I.V supplies in the past but that they no longer did so.