The Bloomfield City Council began a series of work sessions on the FY21 budget last week.

Interim City Administrator Andy Morris said preliminary work is being done on identifying revenue for FY21, and he believes the tax rate will be approximately $17.38 per thousand, which he described as a “fairly good rate.”

Deputy City Clerk Sandy Jones anticipates a 2% raise for city employees and said 10% would need to be added to the budget for overtime pay.

As the council began discussing positions that need to be filled, Morris said he would like to have someone designated for code enforcement and has someone in mind to take on this responsibility.  “You have to have one person who concentrates on this or it doesn’t get done,” he said.

Mayor Dan Wiegand suggested an engine room position be added to the budget.

Police Chief Shawn Armstrong reported the Police Department is budgeting for the second round of their pay increase to get them caught up to comparable salaries for area police departments. He also said the department may need another person when spring arrives.

Wiegand offered a few comments regarding the electrical infrastructure and the budget. He suggested the department figure out the number of poles that should be replaced per year on a rotating basis. “Thirty years is about the lifespan of a pole,” he said.

Wiegand also said the city needs a bigger truck to install 45’ electrical poles or have SIEC do the job for the city. City trucks can handle the 25- to 30-foot poles, but not the longer ones, he said. “Contracting this out and having SIEC work with the 45’ poles is cheaper than owning a larger truck,” he added.

Wiegand said he would like the city to plan on running a line from the solar field to the feeder station, which would cost roughly $30,000. “The only way to utilize the solar field to its full potential is to get it downtown, in my opinion,” he said. “If we can get it downtown, we can get it to the hospital.”

The council reported an interview had been held to fill Brenda Johnson’s position as finance manager. However, no decision was made and there is no recommendation for this position at this time.