Fulton council to discuss budget at next meeting

Council members heard from department heads on various needs at retreat

With multiple departments making requests from a limited general fund, the Fulton City Council will be weighing several needs when considering next year’s budget at its July 23 meeting.

The council heard from several department heads, including the city police and fire departments, the parks and recreation department and the street department, regarding needs they face.

City Administrator Bill Johnson noted that while all departments with budget requests had a valid need, finances present a roadblock to ensuring each gets what it wants.

“From a financial standpoint, the utility funds are in pretty good shape but the general fund doesn’t have the revenue stream to let everyone get everything they want or need,” Johnson said. “We’re seriously looking at priorities, but will not be able to fulfill everyone’s goals.”

Fire

Half of Fire Chief Dean Buffington’s staff has been with the department for fewer than five years, and most are from out of the area, he said. He attributes a high turnover rate to staff leaving for neighboring departments with higher base salaries.

“I have someone in charge of an apparatus with less than two years seniority,” Buffington said. “It’s not good to have someone who wasn’t familiar that Fulton even existed two years ago doing that.”

In addition to increasing starting pay from about $21,500 to $27,100, Buffington requested the council consider changing from the current 48-hour work schedule to an industry-standard 56-hour week.

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