Jersey Village City Council members convened July 19 for preliminary budget discussions in preparation to approve the proposed $17.1 million general fund budget on Aug. 16.
This includes a $2.1 million budget for the city's fire department and a $4.1 million budget for police department operations in the 2021-22 fiscal year. These budgets will help fund crime prevention, wages and equipment. The police budget is up about 16.4% over the previous fiscal year, while the fire budget fell 14% due to some budget items being transferred to the new Fire Control, Prevention and Emergency Services District.
In the next year, fire department officials are looking to hire another five part-time firefighter positions to help cover shifts during volunteer periods. Jersey Village Fire Chief Mark Bitz said he is seeing a decline in volunteers at the department.
“A couple of volunteers are spending their time in the evenings covering two and three shifts,” he said.
Last May, officials applied for a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that would fund additional full-time firefighters. City Manager Austin Bleess later told Community Impact Newspaper the city did not ultimately receive the grant.
About $1.7 million of the fire department's budget will go toward salaries, wages and benefits in FY 2021-22—up 11% compared to the previous year's budget, Mayor Bobby Warren said.
At the police department, officials are planning to adjust salaries in the coming year. Salaries, wages and benefits will cost the department $3.8 million if the budget is approved as proposed. This is about a 15% increase from allocations in the previous budget cycle.
All city budgets for FY 2021-22 will be approved at the Aug. 16 City Council meeting.