With the Jamestown City Council nearing the deadline to approve the 2013 budget, there are still many items that have been requested, which may not be fulfilled.
The Jamestown Police Department, for example, has asked for a firing range upgrade that is estimated to cost $160,000. According to Harry Snellings, Jamestown police chief, the upgrade to the range would permit more realistic training and reduce both ammunition and long-term maintenance costs. Other items that have been requested include an upgrade to the fingerprinting system that is used, mobile video recording equipment for eight patrol cars, and smaller upgrades like bulletproof glass for the reception area at the police station.
Many of the requests from the fire department include replacements for aging vehicles within the fleet, so of which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. For the time being, some of the more costly items have been prioritized as possibilities within the next three years, but could be completed sooner depending on an availability of funds.
Even if these projects do not get funded initially, Mayor Sam Teresi stresses that it is critically important for department heads like Chief Snellings to continue including these requests. By including these requests, it allows the mayor and the City Council to understand what the departments need in order to carry out their jobs in an optimal fashion.
"They need to understand then that it's our job to balance all of the demands that are out there," said Teresi. "I stress this every year to my department heads that I need them to do their job and I can't afford for them to take the attitude of "Why should I even submit the capital budget requests when the money isn't going to be there to fund 95 percent of it anyway?"
Teresi continued, "Just because they put something on the list that doesn't make it into the funding range, doesn't mean that it doesn't have value for me to know that. "There could be something that breaks during the program year from a revenue standpoint that allows us to go back and revisit these things that didn't make the cut. There's also potential outside funding opportunities like grants, drug seizure money, insurance settlements and budget line items that come in under what we have projected that give us an opportunity to take a second look at this police and fire department equipment. A lot of the times, we've gone back and been able to revisit these things and pursue them down the line with different resources."
According to Teresi, the other avenues that become available down the line are a primary reason why everything is not immediately budgeted. He stressed however, that without the department heads putting in these requests, these items could be forgotten about.
"At the end of the process, we're going to do all that we can, but only what we can afford to do," said Teresi. "The things that don't make the cut, down the line there may be an opportunity for those things to be funded."