Plymouth chiefs pitch budgets

Published 2:21 am Saturday, May 19, 2007

By Staff
Fire, police voice budget needs
Staff Writer
PLYMOUTH — Hearing Thursday night from both its fire and police chiefs, the Plymouth Town Council learned it will be playing catch up next fiscal year.
Plymouth Fire Chief Jack Barnes presented the council with a budget filled less with wants and more with necessities to serve the majority of Washington County, he said.
But, he said, “everyone is looking forward to moving forward,” and for that to happen, some equipment needs to be purchased in order for the town to be protected from future fires.
Just as the council would later hear from its chief of police, the fire department needs, and has needed, to upgrade or replace much of its equipment.
The fire department hasn’t bought any new air packs for five or six years and “that’s what keeps our people alive in these buildings,” he said.
Plymouth Police Chief Steve O’Neal also presented the council with a budget that would bring the Plymouth Police Department and its equipment up to par with the town’s needs. The department, in order of priority needs a communications repeater, three new cars and new weapons.
At its regular meeting Monday, the council approved using funds left over from an underspent police budget for the current fiscal year to purchase one of the three cars O’Neal requested.
O’Neal also said that not only do some of his officers’ ballistic vests exceed their shelf lives, but some do not even have vests.
With 12 officers, including himself, O’Neal is two officers short of full staff and requested two new officers be hired and a position created for an investigator dedicated to policing illegal narcotics in the county.
Funding all of O’Neal’s budgetary requests would require a 10-cent increase in property taxes, according to Styons.
The council will reconvene Tuesday for a second budget meeting, focusing on the revenue portion of the budgeting process.