During the Aug. 28 Westfield City Council meeting at City Hall, Westfield Chief of Staff Jeremy Lollar and the city’s administrative staff introduced the 2024 city budget. The proposed budget is $35,624,944.
Several departments have asked for an increase in funding for 2024. The administration department wants to add a chief of legal, or city attorney, and executive assistant. A reduction of $250,000 was made to offset the cost of the chief of legal. The administration budget totals more than $4 million.
City council member Scott Willis said Westfield is the only major city in Hamilton County without its own in-house attorney and it was time for that to change. The chief of legal’s base pay would be $200,000.
“My proposal is to bring one person,” said Willis, a Republican and unopposed mayoral candidate in the Nov. 7 general election. “That dollar amount is not necessarily what we have to pay, but if you review what other city attorneys are making in the surrounding area, that is a rough number we came up with that would keep us competitive.”
The following is a breakdown of other departments and what they are requesting:
- Westfield Police Department: The proposed budget for 2024 is $13 million which is around $1 million more than what the department requested in 2023. Included in the police budget is the request for 3 additional police officers and a personnel expense line both totaling to over $870,000.
- Westfield Fire Department: The proposed budget for 2024 is $18 million. It is $3 million more than what the department asked for in 2023. The department is requesting an additional 12 firefighters, which would continue the department’s phase-in approach to reaching the MFPA 1710 standard of four persons per fire apparatus.
- Westfield Welcome: The proposed budget for 2024 is $1 million compared to 2023’s proposed budget of $890,377. Included in the department’s request is the community events coordinator’s position, to be changed from part time to full time, and an increase in dollar amount for part-time seasonal employees for Grand Junction Plaza. New staff and seasonal staff total to roughly $113,357.
Although some departments saw an increase in budgeting, others experienced a decrease. The following are some of the departments that had a decrease:
- Public Works: The proposed 2024 budget was $5 million, which is $3 million less than what the department requested for 2023. The department saw the biggest shift in its infrastructure repair expense coming out to $37,000 compared to $3 million in 2023.