RCPD asks for $1M increase for 2015

By Bethany Knipp

The Riley County Police Department has begun hashing out numbers with the county law board for its 2015 budget.

The department and Riley County Law Board commissioners met Thursday night for the first of two budget workshops.

The agency proposed a $1,088,500 increase from its 2014 approved budget of $18,413,500.

But as the department will be able to carry over a credit of $488,000 from 2013, that brings the 2015 budget proposal to $19,064,000, or about a 3.5 percent increase.

Commissioner Ron Wells said after the meeting that he would like to see the increase come under 3 percent.

“I would like them to work on it just a little bit more,” he said.

Wells said, however, that he was pleased that the proposal wasn’t more than what the RCPD brought to the table.

Commissioner Rich Jankovich said the consensus among the board was that they would like to see the budget reduced by about $100,000 to $130,000 to keep the mill levy as stable as possible. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed, taxable property value. 

RCPD Director Brad Schoen said the department would look at reducing the budget where it can and come back with an amended proposal at the next meeting on March 17.

“We never go into those meetings expecting them to sign off on the first bout,” Schoen said.

The RCPD’s biggest dollar difference between its 2014 approved budget and its 2015 proposed budget will be an increase in costs for personnel.

For instance, $282,000 of the proposed increase is for full-time salaries.

Given that salaries take up more than $11 million in the total budget, that only comes out to a 2.48 percent increase.

The increase includes a cost of living allowance raise of 1.4 percent for all personnel, a new information technology (IT) position and two additional dispatchers.

It also includes merit raises for about 80 percent of all employees not at the top of their pay scale, and who receive an annual performance evaluation of a least “meeting expectations.”

Another large difference between the 2014 and 2015 budgets is a 25.55 percent hike in Kansas Public Employment Retirement System benefits, including long-term disability and life insurance for non-sworn employees. The dollar difference would be $105,000.

For sworn police officers, there is a proposed 19.42 percent increase, or an extra $276,000, in Kansas Police & Fire retirement benefits. Those increases are in the proposal because of expected Kansas legislative mandates and actual salaries paid, which increase every year.

Schoen said those are things basically are in the hands of the legislature. 

Areas of proposed budget reduction include the cost of fuel and lubrication to police vehicles — thanks to actual expenses not exceeding previously allotted money.

Printing and postage costs also should be reduced as the department moves to an increasing paperless means of communication.

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