NEW PORT RICHEY — The City Council is considering a proposed $51 million 2014-15 budget that could mean the creation of nine new full-time positions, including a personnel boost for the police department.
At a work session Tuesday, city staff presented council members with a first draft of the budget, which keeps the property tax millage rate at 9.5799.
The plan is a 3.2 percent reduction from last year's budget, with the biggest challenge being a $1 million hit from reduced red light camera revenue, finance director Peter Altman said.
Altman had some good news: Unrestricted funds since 2009 have increased from about $2.7 million to $5.4 million. This comes after the slashing of department budgets in 2012 that led to layoffs.
Now, staff members are asking the council to fund five new police positions, two development department jobs and two spots in public works.
Police Chief Kim Bogart is seeking an assistant chief, a corporal, a code enforcement officer and two patrol officers. Bogart said his agency is already down two patrol officer spots and has been understaffed for some time.
Bogart said that with the new positions, he also would be able to reinstate long-dormant community policing and volunteer reserve programs. He added that if the positions are approved, he would look to fill the administrative spots internally.
"I'm not one to pad the budget. I wanted more, but this is what I really need," he said.