New positions, state aid add $1 million to proposed Meriden budget

New positions, state aid add $1 million to proposed Meriden budget

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MERIDEN — The City Council is now considering a budget of $198.3 million, an increase of roughly $1 million over Acting City Manager Ken Morgan’s plan.

The council is expected to vote on a budget Monday night. 

The City Council Personnel Committee approved the addition of an Information Technology management position during its meeting Tuesday, but denied Morgan’s request to move a network specialist to the Fire Department.

The proposed changes would result in a combined $110,000 in new costs, according to Finance Director Michael Lupkas. The city also is now looking at $901,455 more in Education Cost Sharing funds than Morgan projected in his $197.3 million budget. The current budget proposal would shift those funds to the Board of Education. 

The Personnel Committee voted Tuesday to add a $91,000 IT Systems Administrator under the supervision of the city manager, according to Chairwoman Sonya Jelks. She said the position would “support new and existing systems in which we currently lack the bandwidth and necessary skill sets to support properly.”

A $20,335 library custodian, which had been on payroll but never formally approved by the City Council, was also approved. 

Meanwhile, a proposal to move an IT network support specialist to the Fire Department was shot down by the committee.

”We voted against that resolution and asked the city manager to work with IT to get existing staff to identify, prioritize and support the current technology needs of the Fire Department,” Jelks said in an email. 

Morgan, who also serves as fire chief, has insisted the complexity of the software used by the department requires a full time staffer because it currently consumes much of the deputy chief’s time.

”(The Council) want to centralize the IT functions as much as they can for the city,” Morgan said. “I’m disappointed. I understand the concept, but it doesn’t help the Fire Department out when it comes to IT stuff.”

Twitter: @LeighTaussRJ

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