DAVIDSON – It's prime time for municipal budget planning, and money matters were front and center at a town board workshop on May 1. Commissioners received Town Manager Jamie Justice's budget package in April, and the May meeting provided the first opportunity for a public dissection of particular parts of the proposal.

At the request of commissioners, items analyzed at the meeting were specific expenditures identified as prioritized needs for various town departments. Personnel additions, equipment purchases, facility improvements and administration processes were among the items Justice highlighted, providing details of $484,020 in recurring annual expenditures and $119,167 in one-time costs he recommends the board approve.

Police officer positions account for more than $250,000 of the new expenditures. Police Chief Penny Dunn has amended her initial request and, instead of seeking funds for one new captain's position, is requesting $183,000 to add two sergeant positions to the municipal police force. In addition, the town will provide upfront funding for another police officer position to provide a resource officer at Community School of Davidson. The school will reimburse the town 85 percent of the costs for the position through an annual payment plan.

Another significant item on the recommended needs list is a $100,000 contribution to the town's capital facilities fund. Justice explained the town has made an effort to funnel funds into that account each year to prepare for future payments that will be associated with the anticipated issuance of bond debt to finance transportation, greenway and parks and recreation projects.

The list of recommended annual expenditures also includes nearly $80,000 to provide potential merit-based pay raises to town employees.

The majority of the one-time expenditures Justice recommends would finance upgrades to the town's public works facility and the acquisition of a utility truck for the department's use.

Budget discussions were scheduled to continue at the town board's May 8 meeting, and the budget is also expected to be an agenda topic at the board's May 22 meeting. The board is scheduled to adopt the 2018-19 budget on June 12.

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