In a review of 2007 city department general fund budgets, the biggest percent increase will go to the civil defense department for new tornado sirens, while the biggest percent decrease is a result of Major Moves cash.

The Anderson City Council will give the city’s requested 2007 budget a third and final reading during the regular meeting tonight.

During budget hearings last month, the council agreed to buy six new tornado sirens, two every year for the next three years, to cover spots where they aren’t easy to hear, city spokeswoman Connie Smith said.

That means that the relatively small civil defense budget, about $49,000 in 2006, will more than double to $101,000 in 2007 if it gets final approval today.

That number, like all the numbers in this story, are drawn from the requested 2006 and the requested 2007 budget. Budgets are subject to change during the course of the calendar year, and some city departments did see their budgets cut or added to in 2006 and might see increases or cuts in 2007.

The street department, meanwhile, went down 22 percent, even though the city is planning to spend $1.9 million in paving. That’s because of the $822,000 the department will get from Gov. Mitch Daniels’ Major Moves plan to lease the Indiana toll road to a private company and spend the money on state and local paving projects. Because of the extra cash, the city will transfer some street money to other funds, Controller Morris Long has said.

In other big increases, the handover of General Motors’ properties won’t come cheap for the city, at least when it comes time to pay the lawyers. The law department is asking for another $125,000, an increase of 40 percent over last year, mostly to pay for outside lawyers to complete the transfer, Smith said.

Mayor Kevin Smith’s office is asking for an increase of $13,000, from $141,000 to $154,000, or 8 percent. The money will go to pay for Smith’s ramped up economic development actives.

”It goes to travel, memberships (in trade organizations like the Japan-America Society) and giveaways (like coasters and golf ball sleeves),” Smith said.

The Planning Department is also requesting a 30 percent increase, from $293,000 last year to $384,000 this year, or up $91,000.

The money, Director Katie Goar said, will go to the next facade grant program. Set up to help businesses spruce up the outside of their buildings, the program gives out $100,000 total. Next year will be the program’s second year, and the first year it will be funded by long-range planning instead of economic development.

“Our budget is slightly lower than last year (before the facade grant program),” she said, due to small decreases in many line items.

A 13 percent increase will also come in the Information Services Department, which will go from $248,000 to $280,000 to pay for a new employee.

“We’re going to get the utility bills online, which we haven’t been able to do because we haven’t had the people to do it,” Connie Smith said.

The council voted to add money to the municipal development budget for knocking down unsafe structures and removing weeds, said Michael Widing, director of the Department of Municipal Development.

That budget will increase about 7 percent, or $100,000, from $1.3 million in 2006 to $1.4 million in 2007.

Besides streets, a few other city departments will also see a decease. The city hall fund will go down to $159,000 from $183,000 or about 15 percent. That’s because a project paid for in 2006, the remodeling of the old city court into a meeting room for the community development department, is complete.

The police department budget will also see a small decrease of about $19,000 in a $10.4 million budget, which equals to 200ths of a percent.

That’s due to gas savings, Police Chief Frank Burrows said. Seventeen of the department’s 49 cars were replaced last year.

“The old cars were getting seven miles to gallon, and the new ones are getting 13, 14 miles per gallon,” he said.



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