By Elise Kidd
The Montevallo City Council approved the city’s 2021-2022 fiscal budget at their Sept. 27 meeting. The new budget increased the police budget by $287,048. The police force is the only organization or project that has over a million dollars set aside for it.
Last year’s police budget was $1,610,545. In the 2021-2022 budget, the police received $1,897,593. According to Steve Gilbert, who serves as the city clerk and treasurer, there were several factors for the increase in the police’s budget.
According to Gilbert, the city is fully transitioning to Shelby County 911 for police dispatching. The switch will place all of dispatching into one system meaning callers can reach police and fire and emergency medical services much easier.
“There is a cost with this transition,” said Gilbert. The cost was factored into the increase in this year’s fiscal budget. Prior to this transition, police dispatch was channeled through city hall.
The council also set aside more money in order to increase the pay for Montevallo Police Department officers.
“This helps with the retention of experienced officers as well as hiring new recruits,” Gilbert said. The city also reviewed other nearby law enforcement agencies’ salaries and made sure Montevallo’s aligned with theirs.
The city council’s police budget also includes the purchase of two new police patrol vehicles. The purchase will occur within the incoming fiscal year according to Gilbert. He explained the purchase is an effort to keep “newer vehicles in service which require less maintenance and out of service time.”
For the 2020-2021 fiscal budget, the city’s total revenue was $5,841,885 while the 2021-2022 fiscal budget is $7,641,979.
The Montevallo Junior City Council also received $1,000 in funding. ValloCycle received $600. Both of these organizations were not allotted direct funding in the previous year’s budget.
The city also allocated $250,000 for the Victory Building renovation project. This is an ongoing city project to renovate the former Victory Autos and Collision Center building located on Main Street into a shared brewery and restaurant space, with Interstellar Ginger Beer and Exploration Company and Wasabi Juan’s currently slated as tenants.