QUINCY — Fiscal 2023 is set to be a year of “rebuilding” for Quincy’s police and fire departments, according to chiefs Rob Copley and Bernie Vahlkamp.
The police department presented a spending plan of $15.3 million, or 4.76% more than the current revised budget for fiscal year 2022, during a budget hearing on Monday. Copley said it was the largest budget he presented as police chief.
Copley said one reason for the increase was that the city would fully fund police retirement obligations for the second straight year at $4.4 million.
The police department also budgeted for a full staff. However, the department currently has 10 fewer officers.
Copley said the police department was not at its optimum strength without the 10 officers.
“We drown, that’s what we do,” Copley said. “We have officers working a lot of overtime (and) while officers usually volunteer for overtime, a large proportion of them are now being forced to work overtime.”
However, Copley remained optimistic the slots could be filled in fiscal year 2023.
Vahlkamp said the fire department is proposing a spending plan of $12.9 million, or 4.96% more than the revised fiscal year 2022 budget.
Wages and benefits are currently up 3.35% overall, which includes a 2.75% contract increase for unionized firefighters.
“Our overtime budget also remains high as we are always short right now,” Vahlkamp said.
Vahlkamp said he was looking to hire two new firefighters, which may not be done until November.
The central services, utilities and engineering departments also submitted their budgets for fiscal year 2023.
Central Services Director Kevin McClean said his department’s budget was relatively stable, but he would be looking to replace some equipment, including a dump truck.
Director of Utilities and Engineering Jeffrey Conte said his department’s budget will be about $309,000 higher than the fiscal year 2022 budget. a new engineer and capital expenditures for new vehicles.
At the ensuing city council meeting, the aldermen voted to table a program to redevelop the hotel at a cost of $500,000 a year from Quincy’s 1% food and drink tax for one week.
However, City Council has authorized an additional $250,000 for the Quincy Workforce Relocation Assistance Program, which aims to encourage individuals to relocate to Quincy by providing property tax relief and rental assistance.
Aldermen voted 9-4 in favor of this resolution with Jeff Bergman, R-2; Anthony Sassen, R-4; Richie Reis, D-6, and Greg Fletcher, R-1 voting no. Alderman Mike Farha, R-4, was absent.
The council also approved the first round of renovation and construction projects under the city’s Small Rental Rehab Project.
Over the next year there will be new construction or renovations at 1139 Hutmacher Road, 1307 & 1309 Elm, 1311 & 1313 Elm, 110 S. 11th, 412 S. 12th, 1016 N. 17th, 1343 S. 12th, 1608 Cherry, 426 S. Eighth and 615 Ohio.