VIENNA — Vienna City Council held a special meeting on Thursday to review the city’s budgets.
Kevin Parish, City Code Inspector, presented budgets for the building inspector, planning and zoning, and code enforcement.
Parish said he’s not asking for any changes to any of his line items from last year. He asked the board to consider a $2 an hour wage increase for starting salaries, as well as current employees, to compete with other starting salaries. He said he’s seen other companies in the area advertise between $14 and $19 an hour starting wage.
“It’s hard to compete with” he said.
Parish said the starting wage was $11.67 an hour for office workers and $11.89 an hour for laborers.
Vienna Police Chief Mike Pifer presented the budgets for the police department and the police judge. Pifer said he was also seeking a $2 raise for all employees. He said it would help attract new employees to the department and help keep the employees he has on the job. Pifer said the increase would bring the starting salary to $22 an hour.
Pifer said he was also requesting two additional police positions, three new police cruisers, and the addition of a captain position (with the removal of a sergeant position). He said it would help with workflow, administrative tasks and maintaining positions within the police department. He said there is a serious lack of recruitment and candidates in the police field.
The police department requested a $2,000 increase for utility costs and a $4,000 increase for building maintenance. Pifer said the increase in building maintenance is mostly due to having to hire cleaners during the pandemic and helping with the HVAC system.
He also asked for a $3,000 increase for professional services and a $4,000 increase for uniforms for new hires. He said the increase in professional services would help pay for testing new recruits.
In terms of capital expenditures and equipment, the three patrol cars are estimated to cost a total of $163,321. Pifer said the department hadn’t requested any new cruisers the previous year. The department also requested an increase of $22,995 for an upgrade to the MILO line. He said it is an interactive computer simulator that helps officers practice the use of force.
The police judges’ budget requested a $500 increase for travel and a $125 increase for training and education.
Vienna Fire Chief Steve Scholl approached the council to discuss the fire department’s budget.
He requested a classification increase from S3 class to an S4 class for Maintenance Technician.
“He’s saved the city an untold amount of money, by doing things in-house we don’t have to budget or bid,” he said. “He basically did it for every department in the city.”
He also asked for a $500 increase for subscriptions, a $1,000 increase for audit fees, a $2,000 increase for tires, an $80,000 increase to replace the barracks front ramp 28th Street Fire Department and $15,000 for equipment.
He said the fire station ramp includes the cost of concrete and the option of an internal water heater, which would help keep the ramp clear during a storm or in the winter when it’s covered in snow or ice.
He said the cost of the equipment is to replace the supply pipes and the chairs in the meeting and training room.
IT Director Joshua McQuaide presented the budget for the City of Vienna’s IT department.
He said he took on the role around August. McQuaide gave a list of equipment that didn’t work when he started. It included the LED panel, all fax machines, the outdated wireless network (citywide), guest networks in city parks, cameras and emergency phones, among others.
McQuaide asked for a $22,112 pay raise for the IT department. He said the decrease in the amount of professional services has added an immense workload to the IT department. He added that the increase is in line with average salaries for similar positions in the state. The director would receive a raise of $14,000, while the technician would receive a raise of $8,112.
He also asked for an increase of $1,000 for education, $5,350 for subscription fees, $17,675 for professional services, $7,000 for aging equipment, $55,000 for upgrades. computers, $40,000 for drones and $15,000 for camera upgrades.
He said the increase in professional services is what was taken out of the budget last year and would help pay to repair the fibrous network repaired on the water tanks.
He said there were 52 computers in the city that needed to be replaced by 2023, and he could cut the cost of the budget increase from $55,000 to $25,000 by using half the computers. for another year and building the rest of the computers. He said it would only take him about 15 minutes to assemble a computer.
McQuaide said he believes drones could save lives. He said they could be used by firefighters and the police department in emergency situations like search and rescue situations. He said it could also be used for maintenance and surveillance.
Melissa Elam, recorder, said McQuaide’s hard work shows and shows through what he has accomplished.
Jack Mathers, President, presented the Beautification and Tree Commission budgets to Council. He distributed two separate booklets, one for kindergarten to second grade and the other for third to fifth grade. He said these brochures would target children and help the community get involved in learning about Vienna and its history.
As part of the beautification budget, Mathers read a cost of supplies at $90,500. He said the projects affected include urban planning, the Blue Star Memorial, Holl’s Chocolates, the Senior Citizens Building, tennis courts and the Gold Star Memorial, among others.
He said the tree commission was considering a project on the land where the home of Joseph Spencer, the founder of Vienna, was located. Mathers said he wants to include a historical sign and place it on the grounds with a small shelter and seating area.
James Dobbs can be contacted at [email protected]