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City overtime costs up

August 16, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The city of Hagerstown's overtime costs increased to $1.24 million during the fiscal year that ended June 30, despite a decline in police department overtime, Assistant Finance Director Ray Foltz said Friday.

Total overtime costs were up from $1.18 million the previous year. Police overtime, at $810,777, was down from the past year for the first time in five years, according to budget documents.

About $269,506 of that $810,777 was reimbursed by the private sector and other governments, including payments for officers working at private events and on grant-funded activities, Foltz said.

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The police department had $837,483 in overtime costs in the fiscal year that ended in June 2002, up from $625,205 the previous year, city documents show.

Foltz said the city is closely watching the expense of personnel costs, which make up 80 percent of the general fund budget.

"Balancing the budget is simple: Revenue has to equal expenses. If you can't control your expenses, you have to raise taxes and other revenues," Foltz said.

Foltz said city officials hope the police department can reduce its overtime costs to $766,200 this fiscal year.

Police Chief Arthur Smith said overtime costs are paid for officers conducting investigations, testifying in court and working on holidays, among other tasks.

Overtime costs for the public works departments increased from $45,316 to $96,524 for the last fiscal year, mostly due to problems caused by strong winter storms, Foltz said. The department was reimbursed $37,647 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for the some of the storm-related work.

The fire department's annual overtime costs also increased, from $69,924 to $83,949, due to temporary manpower shortages and storm-related costs, Foltz said.

The city is expecting another heavy winter next year and is budgeting accordingly, he said.

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