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Gainesville police, fire departments ask for more money

POSTED: April 15, 2008 5:00 a.m.
ROBIN MICHENER NATHAN/The Times

Officer Dallas Bright demonstrates the Gainesville Police Department's in-car computer system on Thursday afternoon.

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Two of the biggest recipients of city money, Gainesville’s fire and police departments, presented larger-than-usual budget requests Thursday to the Gainesville City Council  morning — despite the city’s smaller-than-usual general fund for the coming year.

A slow economy and uncertainty with the amount of revenue the city will receive from the local option sales tax have lowered expectations for the fiscal year 2009 general fund budget.

For now, the city’s finance department says a current, conservative estimate for the fiscal year 2009 general fund is about $27.8 million, and the requests for police and fire budgets are a little more than half of that estimated budget.

Here’s a look at what they want and why they need it:

Gainesville Fire Department

How it gets money: Gainesville’s general fund

What it wants: The department has requested nearly $5.6 million from the city’s fiscal year 2009 general fund. The amount is 11 percent more than the department’s current budget.

Why it's needed: The department has requested the money to fund the installation of two new tornado sirens that would help warn people of inclement weather in either the Thompson Bridge, Dawsonville Highway or Browns Bridge Road areas; the installation of in-truck laptop computers that would assist drivers in finding street addresses and hydrants while en route to an incident; a restructuring of the department’s staff, including the addition of a Deputy Fire Chief position; the replacement of a rescue truck and a fire engine; vehicles for the chief and fire inspector; and a replacement for a 22-year-old breathing air compressor that is used to refill oxygen packs firefighters wear in a fire.

Gainesville Police Department

How it gets money: Gainesville’s general fund

What it wants: The department requested more than $8.9 million from the city’s fiscal year 2009 general fund.

Why it's needed: The money would help the department replace two canines that have served five years on the force with new ones and new trainers; a replacement of eight patrol cars and two unmarked cars; and the replacement of 10 in-car laptop computers that assist in checking for warrants and printing tickets.

Municipal court

How it gets money: Gainesville’s general fund

What it wants: The court requested $445,000 from the city’s fiscal year 2009 general fund. The amount is 12 percent higher than the court’s current budget.

Why it's needed: The court wants to add an employee that would only be responsible for collecting money, and not entering any information about a sentence or a fine amount in the computer system. The court says the addition of the employee would make financial discrepancies less of a possibility.

Other agencies outside the city government also made their budget requests of the Gainesville City Council Thursday. Here’s a list of who they are and what they asked for:

Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council: $130,000 ($32,500 would come from the general fund and $97,500 would come from the city’s public utilities fund)

Keep Hall Beautiful: $25,000 from the general fundGainesville-Hall County Convention and Visitors Bureau: $166,000 from the general fund

Main Street Gainesville: $96,195 from the general fund



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