City of Westfield on track to pass ‘23 budget


City leaders in Westfield are expected to pass its 2023 budget later this month after reviewing budget requests with different department heads more than a month ago.

The budget, which was expected to be presented to the public at the council’s Oct. 10 meeting, could include revisions that were made following the council’s Aug. 31 special session meeting, although it remains unclear what those changes might involve.

Details on the final 2023 budget were not immediately available as of press time, but council members heard initial requests from city department heads, including Westfield Police Dept. Chief Joel Rush and Westfield Fire Dept. Deputy Chief Jim Roberts, who was in attendance for Rob Gaylor. Rush requested three new officers next year, in addition to 10 new police vehicles and Taser replacements.

An estimated amount on how much three new officers and 10 police vehicles would cost the city was not available by the city during its initial budget review Aug. 31. The WFD. had requested adding 12 firefighters next year that Roberts said would cost the city $1.4 million. That figure includes salaries, benefits and associated equipment for those individuals, he said.

The 2023 budget discussion with council members also involved proposed raises for city employees next year. The city’s chief of staff, Jeremy Lollar, told council members that the 2023 budget would provide 5 percent pay raises for city employees, but did not know how much that would cost the city when questioned by city council member Cindy Spoljaric during the meeting. It remained unclear whether that 5 percent across-the-board raise would still be included in the city’s 2023 budget proposal being shared with the public as of press time.

Other department heads are also seeking increased funding for their departments next year. Among those include Chris Proffitt, who oversees communications for the City of Westfield.

Specifically, Proffitt told the council during its Aug. 31 initial budget meeting that he was seeking $25,000 for a part-time employee in his department. Kayla Arnold, director of Westfield Welcome, requested the addition of another community development coordinator employee and moving another individual from part-time to full-time in her department.

The council, which was set to have a public hearing during its Oct. 10 meeting, is expected to adopt the budget at its Oct. 24 meeting. Council meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month at Westfield City Hall, 130 S. Penn St.