NAMPA — After a two-day budget workshop Tuesday and Wednesday, Nampa City Council approved the $192 million budget proposed for fiscal year 2020, sending it to a public hearing Aug. 19 before it can be finalized.
During the workshop, the council shifted funding around in the proposed budget to include additional positions for the Nampa Police Department. Instead of three new positions, the police department will gain 11, including nine new officers, which will bring the department back up to the number of officers it was scheduled to have 10 years ago.
Nampa Finance Director Doug Racine said under the original proposed budget, the police department would have received three new positions, one of which was a victim witness coordinator that was previously funded under the Nampa Family Justice Center.
In the proposal, Nampa Police Chief Joe Huff called the plan “unsustainable,” and said the department’s lack of officers combined with Nampa’s growing population means the department hasn’t been able to keep up the level of service it has before.
“We no longer respond to thousands of calls for service each year that would have received an officer just a decade ago,” Huff said in the proposal. “Misdemeanor thefts, vandalism, and vehicle burglaries to name a few.”
Under the new proposed budget, Racine said the police department will get nine new officers, a new community service officer and the victim witness coordinator. This will bring the department up to 132 officers, which was how many the department was slated to have in 2009, before the recession brought its staffing down, he said.
Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling said she and the council were supportive of increasing staff for police because Nampa residents have indicated that funding for public safety is a top priority, according to multiple online community surveys.
Racine said increasing police staff did not increase Nampa’s overall budget because the funding came from other areas. The biggest portion was $380,000 that came from leftover funds from the 2% property tax increase that council agreed to include in the budget. Racine did not know the exact amount that was added to the police budget, but indicated it was over $400,000.
Another feature of the proposed FY20 budget is an additional $8.5 million for wastewater construction projects, totaling more than $30 million in the overall budget. The proposal also includes an extra $2.5 million for Nampa’s streets.
The FY20 budget is over $20 million higher than last year’s original budget, which landed at $172 million. That budget was eventually amended, however, to total about $182 million, which Racine said covered several uses, including multiple wastewater and water projects and the purchase of the First Interstate Bank building for more city office space.