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Budget process begins

Most of the city’s department heads submitted 2014 budget requests with little or no increases from the current budget.

However, requests from the police and fire departments would add $400,000 to Bellefontaine’s general fund expenses if ultimately approved by the City Council.

Finance Committee members are not opposed to all of the requested increases in safety force expenditures and they want to talk further with Police Chief Brandon Standley and Fire Chief J.P. Schulz, who submitted a request that is 16 percent larger than this year.

“We need to hear from him,” Finance Chairman Mark Fissel said during an initial budget meeting today. “He’s going to have to sell that figure pretty hard.”

Chief Schulz has asked to move a firefighter/paramedic position from the Ambulance Fund, which is set up to generate revenue from user fees to offset the squad operations.

It is a move supported by the administration and the committee.

“We have to do that so we don’t have to raise rates,” Mayor Brannon said. “By moving that one position, the fund will have expenses that are less than revenue.”

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