Hamburg City Council adopted Jan. 23 a $7.1 million budget resolution for fiscal year 2023.
Of the projected expenses outlined in the resolution, $1,324,675 were general fund expenditures and $5,796,476 were in funds dedicated to water and sewer services, ambulance services, and courts and construction.
By far the largest line item in the general fund expenditures is the police department, for which $620,993 is budgeted. The salary schedule adopted alongside the budget allows for five part-time patrol officers at $14 an hour in addition to five full-time salaried patrol officers, a sergeant, the police chief and police clerk. Officers were also allocated $600 annually for uniforms.
The second largest of the planned budget costs is the administrative fund at $225,831. Following behind that in terms of how much money is expected to be spent are sanitation services at $199,881. Separate from sanitation but still focusing on general health and welfare was a $20,235 budget item for mosquito control.
The third highest general fund expense was District Court’s operations at $126,856.
The budget includes a total of $43,479 for parks, while $18,050 was allocated specifically for the City Square.
In addition to the budget resolution and salary schedule, the council adopted several housekeeping resolutions allowing the police clerk and the district court clerk to sign checks, as well as one allowing the city to have a continuing computer services contract with PBW Infotech Services.
The resolution allowing the contract was necessary because City Clerk Melissa Carpenter, who took office this month, is married to one of the company’s owners.
Also during the meeting, the council heard a presentation from Jay Holstead, an account executive with McKinstry, a company that provides energy engineering and green technology.
Holstead told the council that if Hamburg partners with McKinstry to build a solar array to offset the city’s electrical usage, it could save approximately $62,000 annually.
Holstead made a similar presentation to the Hamburg School District recently, and is slated to speak with Ashley County Quorum Court in February. The proposal he presented to the council would have the city, school district and county government building arrays on a piece of property near the Ashley County Detention Center.
If the three governments partner on the project, it will save planning costs and time, Holstead said. The proposed solar farm would have fixed panels facing southward, running east-to-west, and would be able to collect light reflected off of gravel on the ground-facing side of the panel.
“Each entity owns their own array and has their own interconnection with the transformer, but from a logistics standpoint you are building one array,” he said. “You are building all three simultaneously.”
Holstead said he is still in the process of doing an audit of the city’s usages and processes to determine what might be the best plan moving forward, and that the city is not obligated to pay for any of the work at this point.