Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese has released his proposal for the 2017 budget, and it calls for more officers, more firefighters, and more spending.
He wants to create 12 new jobs and increase spending by 8.4 percent. That means the budget goes from $61.6 million in 2016 to $66.8 million in 2017, according to the Elkhart Truth.
The Mayor’s office said in a statement that a lot of the funding comes from “capital expenditures”. His predecessor, Dick Moore, would usually seek capital funds as special appropriations over the course of the year.
Neese is drawing a hard line on the budget being both balanced and containing public safety improvements. Those improvements include:
- Five-more officers for an anti-crime task force
- Three new firefighters and an Elkhart Fire Department training officer
- Security cameras for parks
- Buying 15 new police cars and allowing officers to take the cars home.
The budget plan also calls for a 2 percent wage hike for city employees and elected officials, infrastructure improvements, new maintenance equipment, and money for the 2017 Elkhart Jazz Festival.
The Elkhart City Council could approve Mayor Neese’s plan at its Oct. 27 meeting. A series of hearings are scheduled before then.