Law board reviews budget options

By Katherine Wartell

Three additional budget drafts were presented to the Riley County Law Board Thursday evening during the board’s second meeting to discuss the 2013 RCPD budget.

Each draft included increased full-time and part-time salary budgets to allow for two new police officers, a civilian public information officer and a CSI lab tech. They differed in the percent COLA, or cost of living allowances, with 2.2 percent, 1.5 percent and 1.75 percent COLA adjustments suggested.

The COLA adjustment has been a topic of concern for board members, with multiple members expressing unease with an earlier draft’s 3.2 percent COLA adjustment.

In a draft reflecting a 1.5 percent COLA adjustment, the overall budget would increase about 5.7 percent from the 2012 budget, or from approximately $17.13 million to $18.1 million, the smallest increase proposed so far, excluding one draft that had a zero percent COLA adjustment.

In Thursday’s meeting, board members John Matta and Wynn Butler emphasized the need to cut costs, though Butler said he did not want to see a zero percent COLA adjustment.

Matta again underscored the importance of consolidating insurance costs between the board, City, and County as a way to save money. He said the board needs to set consolidation as an objective and consider it a failure if it is not reached.

Chairperson Karen McCulloh said there are three questions that need to be answered: does the board feel staffing is at the right level, is new staff needed and are RCPD employees being adequately paid.

The board will take up budget talks again in March’s general Law Board.

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