Rogers city departments request funds to update training, services, equipment

Posted: November 7, 2017 at 1 a.m.

ROGERS -- Some requests made for equipment and continuing education during city budget hearings are long overdue, department heads told the Rogers City Council on Monday.

The council met as a committee and granted preliminary approval for fire, police, streets and parks expenditures among others during a series of budget hearings Monday. The final 2018 budget draft is expected to be prepared by Nov. 28 and the final budget is set to be presented Dec. 12.

The 2018 budget projects $55.9 million in revenue, which would leaving the city with about a $406,000 surplus for the year. The 2017 budget had $54.2 million in revenue.

Many expense requests heard Monday could have been made last year, representatives said during individual department presentations to the committee, but several departments delayed asking until the need was dire.

Fire Chief Tom Jenkins requested an additional vehicle. The department used a truck longer than it should have, Jenkins said. The purchase of a truck would benefit other parts of the city. Vehicles are often moved to other departments where they can serve a gentler purpose, he said.

Jenkins requested a $270,000 budget for overtime for fire employees. The rate was incrementally increased from last year for work associated with special duty, including events at the Walmart AMP. Jenkins said overtime doesn't begin until hour 56 for firefighters.

The fire department also requested continued education for paramedics and the purchase of a cardiac monitor.

Police Chief Hayes Minor said expenses for his department were reduced a little from last year.

The department needs interpretation services most of all. Minor said the department has doubled the use of Language Live, a service of AT&T that interprets calls from hundreds of languages. Minor said the amount of languages they need interpreted has also doubled in the past year.

Minor estimated needing between $50,000 and $60,000 for extra duty reimbursement to provide security to Mercy Medical Center, something the department has done in the past. The typical situations Rogers police encounter there are answering victims who didn't call before being transported to the hospital and patients with mental disorders. Minor said the estimate decreased from previous years because the hospital now employs a security guard.

Other requested police expenses include training for the new generation of computer equipment, replacement of carpet in the courtroom, replacement of the department gym equipment, purchasing a new K9 unit and purchasing of riot gear, which includes helmets, face protectors and a trailer.

The Police Department has seen a significant reduction in jail expenses and printing expenses because tickets are no longer printed, Minor said.

Frankie Guyll, Street Department superintendent, asked for $10,000 for land surveys and easements, a new dozer and a $20,000 mower. Guyll said he understands the sum sounds like a lot for a mower.

"It's because it's a specialty mower," he said. "We have 75 detention ponds and the bottom of the mower gets wet, so we have to mow around it. This one allows us to cut grass while standing in 6 inches of water."

Parks Director Jim White requested an adjustment of the facility rental fee since the department has seen a growth of rentals primarily for baseball games and birthday parties, he said.

The department needs a new tractor for sports field maintenance, a back stop net at Veterans Park and a couple of equipment operators who will also act as groundskeepers, White said. One of the two new hires would be exclusively to clean restrooms. White said the department has one staff member for restroom upkeep, but the work of 19 parks requires a second position.

White also requested a Skid Steer specifically for Lake Atalanta Park, funds to make the swimming pool and lazy river compliant with the federal Americans With Disabilities act, and $65,000 for replacement of playground equipment.

NW News on 11/07/2017