The bulk of Harrisburg’s new spending next year could pay for 21 civilian positions in a newly created Community Services Division within the police department, Mayor Eric Papenfuse said Tuesday.
City council members were shown the proposed 2021 budget for the first time during their legislative meeting. The coronavirus pandemic has affected the budget’s development, but it’s not going to stop the city from moving in a positive direction, Papenfuse said.
The presentation lasted for more than an hour. It included ways in which the city could save money, for example, by switching health care providers as well as refinancing bond obligations, among other solutions. Papenfuse also mentioned drawing down money from the city’s $25 million in the general fund.
For some of the city’s usual revenue, such as parking, city officials budgeted either half of what Harrisburg has received in recent years or zero dollars, Papenfuse said. Revenue is projected to improve in two to three years, but he wanted to budget conservatively through uncertain times.
The budget currently stands at spending $136,576,039, while anticipated money coming into the city is $136,584,639. The 2021 plan presented to the council doesn’t include any federal money.
The cost to fund the new 21 civilian positions, as well as two new police positions, is over $1 million.
Police captain (technical services) – $97,734Police captain (community relations) – $97,734Director of community relations and engagement – $75,355Crime analyst – $59,2082 co-responders – $53,825 eachTechnical services manager – $48,443RMS manager – $48,443Body camera manager – $48,443Substation manager – $48,443Parking enforcement officer – $33,90212 Community service aide – $42,164 each
“A body camera manager would be able to provide information in a timely manner,” Papenfuse said.
Many of the new civilian jobs are aimed toward addressing mental health needs in an effort to keep individuals out of prison, Papenfuse said. The goal of the newly created division is to improve community relationships between law enforcement and city residents.
“This is a major change,” Papenfuse said.
The jobs would be unionized, facilities would be upgraded, and outreach efforts would be aimed at connecting nonprofits, businesses, and residents with law enforcement. Papenfuse said he expects a larger discussion on the policing pitch.
There are a handful of other new jobs to consider, too:
Lein officer – $51,672Part time cataloger – $36,171Multi-lingual community services coordinator – $45,213.Deputy tax enforement administration – $66,743Confidential secretary – $53,825Sign shop technician – $47,405Sanitation supervisor – $64,5903 Laborer III – $44,639.633 Motor Equipment Operator – $50,461.28 each
A number of capital projects are also part of the budget. More than $30 million would be spent on infrastructure in Harrisburg by this time next year.
Budget hearings are scheduled on Dec. 8 and 9, when the proposed 2021 budget will be further discussed. The final vote is expected to take place on Dec. 10.
Council members didn’t ask questions at the end of the presentation.
“There is a lot of information to dissect,” said President Wanda Williams.
The proposed 2021 Harrisburg City Budget can be found here.
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