by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune
---- — Logansport City Council approved several fund transfers at its meeting Monday night in order to accommodate three city departments winding down the year with extra cash.
Logansport Police Chief Mike Clark said while the department has had its share of applicants over the last year, not enough made it through the interview process to bring the force up to its capacity of 41 officers and will close the year at 39.
At council finance committee meetings last month, Clark proposed taking the funds budgeted for this year’s two empty slots, totaling $138,257.50, and putting it toward two squad cars, a van and replacing outdated helmets and vests.
A polygraph machine was also among Clark’s requests. Polygraph tests are required for applicants and they are also used in some investigations. Clark said this purchase will ultimately lead to savings, as the department has to travel to other law enforcement offices in the state when a polygraph test is needed.
Parks Administrator Jan Fawley was present at council finance committee meetings as well, requesting the $25,175 budgeted for an unfilled full-time employee position and other overages go toward building improvements, utility costs and two new vehicles for the parks.
Logansport City Councilman Bob Bishop proposed amendments to both requests, asking that expenses for the parks department’s vehicles and all LPD expenses except for the tactical equipment and van be stricken from the resolutions. He said he felt overages in many cases should revert back to the city’s general fund, adding that a new vehicle for the parks department was already budgeted for 2014.
Both department heads addressed council members at Monday’s meeting.
”I’m in need of these,” Clark said. “I need every item. I’m not here just to spend a dollar.”
Fawley said both vehicles she would like replaced were in dire need of repair, one of which has a door falling off, broken tailgate handle and broken rear-view mirror.
”It will keep my people out of the shop fixing vehicles and out on duty in the parks,” Fawley said.
Neither of Bishop’s amendments passed and the transfers were approved. Bishop voted against both.
The council also approved a transfer of $91,000 from the Logansport Board of Public Works and Safety left over from funds budged for hospitalization and unemployment to utilities, promotion of business and building and liability line items.
In other news, the council also:
• Approved the elimination of trash collection fees on second reading.
• Readopted eight resolutions and one ordinance that had been approved without proper public notice.
• Approved the expenditure of $17,861 for legal representation in a lawsuit filed by a Logansport citizen regarding the city’s power plant project.
• Approved the expenditure of $6,526.25 for legal representation in a lawsuit filed in 2009 by Billy Roller regarding the city’s employee benefit plan.
• Approved the transfer of $2,000 from the city’s unsafe building fund to demolition expenses.
• Approved the expenditure of $2,000 to the Logansport Civic Players for its production, “Birth of a City.” Ralph Anderson, a cast member, said it was important to those involved in the play that attendance be affordable and that the council’s contribution would allow tickets to be sold at $5 rather than $15.
• Approved amending the city’s economic development agreement with Logansport Theater LLC to lower its incentive by $25,000 after the company failed to meet its timeline on the project.
• Approved an amendment to an ordinance approving County Economic Development Income Tax funds to Carter Fuel Systems after Carter Fuel Systems purchased the Logansport Federal Mogul plant, as the amendment had previously addressed Federal Mogul.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him: @PharosMAK