PD requests 6.4 percent more for budget

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NAUGATUCK — The Board of Finance is contemplating whether to give the Naugatuck Police Department a 6.4 percent budget increase for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The NPD initially asked for $512,757 more than it currently receives, but the Board of Finance cut $101,386 from that request, bringing the pending increase to $411,371. If approved, the department’s budget would be $6.79 million.

The Board of Finance is in the midst of reviewing all department requests; so far only the fire, police and education departments have presented their proposals. Each request will go through a thorough review process before the budgets are adopted. The public will have an opportunity next month to speak about the budget requests during a hearing.

Much of the police department increase is due to contractually agreed-upon wage increases. The borough currently pays $5.6 million for police personnel, including 59 sworn officers, six dispatchers, an administrative assistant, two senior account clerks and two traffic and maintenance workers. The department wants to promote one officer to sergeant and would not fill the officer’s position, said borough Controller Bob Butler. And the department wants to add a dispatcher, which is included as part of the $315,699 dispatch budget.

“Over the years, we haven’t made any additions to that function of the department, and as calls for services increase, we feel that … we’d like to have another position staffed permanently with two dispatchers,” Chief Christopher Edson said.

The department is seeking a $10,187 increase in the training line item, bringing it to $34,344. Edson said that last year, every department had to make sacrifices and the police department had to cut from several areas, including training.

The computer maintenance line item would go up $77,680 to $192,098. Gas and oil would jump $32,451 to $166,931. And the firearms line item would go up $10,665 to $41,110. The department is not buying any more guns or ammunition than it did last year, but Butler said the department gets ammunition through the state, which is paying more for ammunition than it did last year.

The department also has to dish out $1,500 to rent undercover police cruisers. This cost was covered last year through a federal program that Naugatuck is no longer a part of, Butler said.

“We tried to present a budget as honestly as we could that would keep the spirit of doing more with less,” he said.