Council to start budget hearings tonight

PARKERSBURG – City Council will begin a series of hearings today to review the city’s proposed $26.3 million budget.

The hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. in Parkersburg City Council chambers on the second floor of the city’s Municipal Building. The meeting is open to the public.

Mayor Bob Newell plans to give a Power Point presentation on services the city provides and new equipment included in the 2013-14 budget.

“It is going to outline everything the city does, number of employees, what their duties are, etc.,” he said. “It is for the new council members so they can understand what we do, and for the existing council members it’s a good reminder of where the money goes.

“In that same presentation we are outlining any pieces of equipment we may be replacing,” he said. “If we say we’re buying a new roller, for example, it will show what the old roller looks like.”

Though council members have set aside three hours for the meeting, Newell said his presentation will take only a fraction of that time.

“In three hours I could get through the entire budget,” he said. “My presentation is only about 20 slides.”

For the most part, Newell said, the budget remains the same as it was last year. Newell added a few line items this year to differentiate money being directed toward tourism events, such as Parkersburg Homecoming, The News and Sentinel Half Marathon and several festivals that take place in the city.

“These are events that bring people in,” Newell said. “These aren’t outside agencies asking for money. These are events in the city we need to support.”

Officials plan to hold at least three hearings on the budget.

The hearing will be preceded by a Personnel Committee meeting at 5 p.m., also at the Municipal Building. Committee members will consider eliminating an assistant city clerk position and will discuss city salaries.

Newell said he will be attending the personnel committee meeting to present information on salaries and reclassifications.