Middletown’s budget increasing for extra payroll, new hires, projects

Middletown will see a slightly larger general fund budget due to additional payroll in 2020.

The 2020 general fund budget will be $33.6 million, a $2.1 million increase from 2019.

The public safety departments will have a budget of $23.8 million, up 6.3 percent, or $1.4 million, in 2020. The non-public safety departments will have a budget of $9.86 million, up 7.6 percent.

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The 2020 budget includes $745,000 in increased payroll and a 2.5 percent cost of living raise for all employees. There will be no performance based compensation program in 2020.

The 2020 budget will have a $7.81 million carryover from the 2019 budget, a 24.4 percent increase over the carryover amount from 2018.

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The city income tax revenues is projected to increase 3.5 percent over 2019 budget in 2020; This is a 2.4 percent decrease compared to projected actual 2019 year end revenues.

Other significant changes for the 2020 budget include:

  • The city's share of health insurance costs will increase 6 percent
  • Adding two more patrol officers to the Division of Police who will be dedicated to traffic enforcement
  • Beginning the development of a community paramedicine program which will add a director of nursing and a health clerk positions
  • Sending two Emergency Medical Technicians to paramedic school
  • Adding two more firefighter/paramedics to the Division of Fire
  • No water rate increase planned in 2020
  • A 10 percent sewer rate increase
  • No storm water fee increase planned in 2020
  • A 50 cent-per-month increase in solid waste fees in 2020 due to an increase in the Rumpke contract
  • An increase in Middletown Regional Airport expenditures as the city becomes the Fixed-Base Operator on Jan. 1
  • Adding a human resources manager

The city is negotiating a new contract with patrol officers and sergeants and assumes a 2.5 percent wage increase for those units and the city’s other bargaining units. The budget also assumes that the city will work out an agreement for a 2.5 percent increase versus the 2 percent listed in the current contract.

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The addition of the two patrol traffic officers and two new firefighter/paramedics will bring police staffing to 80 and the fire staffing to 82.

City officials said the police budget is more than $13 million in 2020, up 7.3 percent over the $12.5 million budget in 2019.

The Division of Police is planning to add one narcotics officer and a uniform patrol sergeant to the Criminal Investigation section in addition to the two uniform patrol officers dedicated to traffic control.

The police 2020 goals include continuing the reduction of Part 1 crimes as well as calls for service; consolidate all nuisance activities and use the chronic nuisance ordinance to address property issues; and using the address management system for better neighborhood policing and improving traffic enforcement.

The 2020 budget for the Division of Fire is $10.3 million, which is up 5.1 percent over the $12.5 million in 2019.

Their 2020 goals will be to implement recommendations of 2017 Strategic Planning Study in 2020; review implementation of 2018 deployment and staffing analysis from the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association; reduce Fire/EMS calls for service by 15 percent through use of address management system, community education, community paramedicine, false alarm reduction strategies and appropriate dispatch triage by Dec. 31, 2020.

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Prepare and train all city departments and divisions on the community disaster plan by March 31; continue cooperation with key organizations and city staff on community response to opioid overdoses and reduce these incidents by 10 percent by the end of 2020; identify and apply for capital grants for the purchase and replacement of newer and older equipment; develop a facility improvement plan by June 30;and adopt false alarm ordinance by Dec. 31, 2020

In the non-public safety departments, the budget includes, by department:

  • City Council: $165,610, up 5 percent
  • City Manager: $428,886, down 9.9 percent
  • Finance Department: $634,831, up 9.5 percent
  • Information Systems: $727,072, up 1.4 percent
  • Economic Development: $1.55 million, up 36.3 percent
  • Administrative Services: $2.54 million, up 6.2 percent
  • Public Works/Utilities: $2.1 million, up 3.4 percent
  • Non-Departmental: $1.69 million, up 1.3 percent

The largest non-public safety increase is in the Economic Development Department, which includes communications, and planning. Those increases include:

Economic Development will have a budget of $911,061, up 24.3 percent and includes funds for Oakland Phase III and the Middletown Paperboard brownfield work. The Middletown Paperboard site is in a tax foreclosure but the city is hoping to purchase and acquire the site for future redevelopment.

Communications will have $253,530 in its budget, up 50 percent for increase in recreation, and funding for continued upgrade of the city brand that includes videography, photographer for stock images of the city, and updated city signs.

Planning is also getting an budget increase to $388,884, up 63.5 percent for a new Certified Local Government position that will be a historic properties specialist.

Major projects in the non-public safety departments include developing an online tax filing option for residents; a new payment portal for utility customers with autopay, text pay, reminders, etc.; continuing the work on the new city Master Plan; implementing the newly approved long term housing policy; continue the response to the heroin epidemic; work on new fire stations and staffing; finish the telephone system, public works software and network infrastructure upgrades; finalize development of a parks master plan; continue land bank demolition projects; continue traffic calming measures and implementing the Long Term Control Plan projects for the Lakeside Storm Water redirection project, a sewer system condition assessment, begin planning the downtown storage basin project, and develop the water system asset management program.

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