The Englewood City Council gave consensus approval at the Aug. 18 study session to the city manager's recommendation to hire 13 people in 2015.
“Looking at the predictions for higher revenues in 2015, I evaluated each department's request and I am recommending hiring a total of 13 people next year,” City Manager Gary Sears said. “The salaries and benefits for 10 of the recommendations will be paid for out of the general fund. I recommend hiring five people in January and the other five in April.”
He said the salary of two of the other positions he recommended filling will be charged to the ServiCenter fund. The third hire's salary and benefits will be covered by the Wastewater Treatment Fund.
Mike Flaherty, deputy city manager, said Englewood has faced the difficult challenge of balancing the budget over the last 10 years, a time frame that included a recession, and the related drop in revenues. He said some essential vacancies have been filled but there have been 17 positions eliminated or left vacant since 2004.
He said some of the people the city manager recommended hiring will fill positions left vacant during the recent recession in order to help the city balance the budget. Other recommended hirings are for new positions.
For example, hiring a fire-training bureau chief fills a position left vacant for many years while the parks and recreation aquatic maintenance technician is a newly created position.
The April hires include three new police officers. John Collins, Englewood police chief, said his department is understaffed and the three people are needed to take the pressure off the current officers.
Department directors joined the city council at the Aug. 18 study session. Council members talked about and evaluated each position recommended.
Mayor Randy Penn said he would tentatively agree to the recommendations.
“I like the fact that five positions will be filled in January and positions won't be filled until April,” he said. “The recommendations are based on the continuing trend of higher revenues. The fact five positions will not be filled until April gives the city council to know the revenue trends for the first three months of 2015 so we can decide whether or not to approve hiring five more people.
Sears said filling the positions will cost about $248,000 a year. He said traditionally the general fund spending comes in 1 percent to 3 percent under budget. Spending 1 percent less than the budget amounts results in a savings of about $400,000 which will cover the expected increase in general fund salaries and benefits.
“Initially, the additional funds for the salaries and benefits for the 10 new people will come from the general fund's unallocated reserves,” Sears said. “The council set a goal of having a 10 percent unallocated general fund reserve. The prediction is the salaries and benefits for the newly hired positions will lower the unrestricted reserves to 9.34 percent.”
Council members discussed the issue and gave consensus approval to go ahead and fill the recommended positions even though it is predicted to lower the unallocated general fund reserves to less than 10 percent.