Budget calls for sewer, water increase Westminster official blames inflation

April 15, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Westminster budget director Stephen Dutterer recommended last night that the City Council maintain the 83-cent tax rate, increase sewer rates by 5 percent and increase water rates by 3 percent in next year's budget.

"That's really no increase at all," Mr. Dutterer told council members at their first budget work session. "That's just compensating for inflation."

General budget requests total about $5 million, compared with last year's $6.5 million budget. The recommended budget includes a 2.4 percent cost-of-living raise for city employees and the addition of four city police officers.

"Last year, we had the request for the new police building, which was just over $1 million," Mr. Dutterer said.

Both the water and sewer budget requests are about $3 million, similar to last year's budgets.

Council President William F. Haifley said he was not convinced the city needed four more police officers. Citing state statistics, Mr. Haifley said cities the size of Westminster average 30 employees.

Westminster has 29 full-time officers and has added one officer in the past five years.

"I would entertain the suggestion of one more officer and could reasonably consider the addition of two," Mr. Haifley said. "But I think it is utterly extraordinary to expect four."

However, Mayor W. Benjamin Brown and council members Rebecca Orenstein and Kenneth Yowan said the 13.6 percent increase in crimes, 8.8 percent increase in arrests and 4.8 percent increase in calls for service last year justify the additional staff.

Council members agreed to continue discussing the possibility of additional officers throughout the budget process.

The budget will be formally presented to the council Tuesday, Mr. Dutterer said. A public hearing is scheduled for May 3, and the council will likely adopt the budget at the May 10 meeting, he said.

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