Spanish Fort to vote on budget

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SPANISH FORT – The Spanish Fort City Council will vote Monday, Oct. 4 on a municipal budget for the upcoming fiscal year that includes more funding for police and fire services. The council held a first reading on the budget Monday, Sept. 20. Mayor Mike McMillan said the city will hear public comments before a final vote on the financial plan at the upcoming meeting Oct. 4. “I will say our budget this year will be tight,” McMillan said. “We have committed a lot of money to our first responders this year, more so than we have in the past.” Spending for the Spanish Fort Volunteer Fire Department will increase from $1 million to $1.64 million, according to budget reports. Spending for the Fire Department in the 2019-20 fiscal year was $800,000. City officials also plan to make the Volunteer Fire Department a city agency in the upcoming fiscal year, according to earlier reports. Police Department salaries increased from $1.52 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year to almost $1.68 million in the new fiscal year. The new fiscal year begins Oct.1 and extends through Sept. 30, 2022. The budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year included total city revenue, both new income and money carried over, of almost $13.74 million. The budget for the 2021-22 year includes expected revenue and carry-over funds of $14.9 million. McMillan said the new budget will include raises and cost of living allowance increases for employees as in the past. “It does include an annual raise of 2 ½ percent, plus a COLA raise of 1.3 percent,” McMillan said. “I don’t think we have ever missed an annual raise or a COLA that I’m aware of. Maybe once. Annual raises we’ve always done. I’m very proud of that. We recognize the value of our employees and that’s a wonderful thing.”