Ballinger police chief Stanley Maresch presented his budget request to the city council for the 2019-2020. The budget request is for $1,020,993.00.  This year’s budget was $785,990.50.

 The new budget request includes:

            An increase is starting pay for police officers. He wants to increase the starting salary from $15.00/hour to $16.50/hour. Maresch said that they would also be expected to raise the pay of all of the other officers if they increase the base pay of a new officer. This would, based on the total of the difference between current salaries and proposed salaries, would be an increase of $144,730.00. just in salaries. In addition to bringing the 1-2 year salaries to $17-$18/hour, it would raise the 1-4 year experience to the $18-$19/range; 3-4 year experienced pay to $19.50-$20.50/hour range, 4-5+ years experience (corporal) to $20.50 - $22.00/hour, sergeant pay to $22.50/hour and chief's pay up to $28.92/hour.

Currently the total salaries of the Ballinger police department are $411,741.00.

            Adding a vehicle to the budget. The current fleet of police vehicles are aging and they are requesting funds for a new one. Maresch has also applied for a grant to purchase a new vehicle. The oldest vehicle is 9 years old. His budget request is for $65,000.00.

            Adding a K9 officer. Maresch says that adding a K9 dog would “greatly improve our drug cases also (sic) to help increase conviction rates on the criminals.” Ballinger city councilman addressed the request by stating that Ballinger had tried having a K9 office in the past, “The last one we had turned into a family pet.” The request is for $12,000 in total. It is not known if proposed overtime is included in this budget as a K9 could potentially be called out often for traffic stops and other calls.

            Code Enforcement Officer. He wants to make a police officer, who is already trained in code enforcement, to be appointed as their code enforcement officer, making the position a police position. This would include the salary for the code enforcement officer, $52,000.00. This would also mean hiring another police officer to replace the officer who will handle code enforcement, “Code Enforcement will drive a patrol vehicle, and still wear a uniform. His main priority will be Code Enforcement, they can still be a backup if needed.”

It’s unclear what the total for this would be. If you transfer the officer to code enforcement at his or her current pay rate, the budget needed would be for a new police officer. The base pay for a new police officer, with the proposed pay increase in the first item, would be a minimum of $34,320.00 (16.50/hour x 2080 hours). This does not include any overtime and does not include the total cost to the city for insurance, pension, etc.

            Adding another Officer – Maresch proposes sponsoring another person through the local police academy and hiring them. This would be the 9th police officer. It does not say if this is in addition to hiring an officer to replace the officer moved to Code Enforcement. In that case, it would mean taking on 2 salaries and accompanying costs.

            Part-Time Officers. Maresch would like to add some paid reserve officers. He states in the request, “This will help encourage our current reserve officers to come in more on a regular basis.”

            Year-end Salary Adjustments – According to Maresch, “This budget line is based for the “Christmas Bonuses” that are given out each year to the police department employees.” He points out that this would “not affect our salaries at the end of the year.” It’s labeled “Year-end Salary Adjustments”, but points out that this will not affect their salaries at the end of the year. At the budget workshop it was mentioned that this would come to about $2,000.  But the line item for “Year-end Salary Adj***" shows this year it was $2,176 and a request of $12,176 for the upcoming fiscal year.

            New office area – Maresch says, “With the growth of the BPD and the disarray of our current building, a new office area is needed.”

            Fitness pay – This would be a Visa gift card given to every officer in the amount of $500. There is not “fitness test” criteria mentioned so it could just be arbitrary. With 8 officers, that would come out to a total of $4,000.  This would be in addition to any year-end salary adjustments and “Christmas bonuses” that each officer receives or overtime pay.

            The total budget increase request for the 2019-2020 is $235,003.00 ($1,020,993 (FY2019) – $785,990 (FY2018).

 The budget request can be confusing because in Appendix C of the request, Maresch breaks down the salaries that would include the proposed changes for Code Enforcement and additional patrol officers. The proposed salaries are:

Chief -  $76,000/annually.

Sergeant - $58,240/annually.

Code Enforcement - $52,000/annually.

Patrol – 7 officers - $45,760 per officer for a total of $320,320.00.

Office manager - $36,000/annually.

Overtime - $70,000/annually.

Animal Control Officer - $41,600/annually.

Shelter assistant – 2 positions at $10,000 each for a total of $20,000.00

This brings the grand total of police department salaries to $674,160.00 for the upcoming fiscal year, if approved.

The 2018-2019 salaries are:

Chief - $56,000.00

Patrol salary - $179,546.00

Clerical salary - $26,954.00

Overtime - $66,950.00

Sergeant salary - $44,290.00

Code Enforcement – 0.00  - Not a law enforcement position this year.

Corporal - $38,000.00

The budget for the fiscal 2018-2019 year is $785,990.00.

 As stated above, the proposed budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 is $1,020,993.00.

The budget has not been approved at this time and there could be further changes to it prior to being voted on by the city council.