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In Divided Vote, Bellevue Adopts Next Year's Budget

The City of Bellevue adopted its 2016-17 budget - but not with unanimous consent.

The $7.2 million budget includes a nearly $4.5 million allocation for the various city departments, as well as $1.75 million for continued improvements to Lincoln Road.

“It’s a good budget. We are being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars again,” Mayor Ed Riehl told The River City News. “We’re looking forward to getting the Lincoln Road project off the ground this year. That’s an exciting project.”

The mayor also highlighted money set aside for the parking area at the of Taylor, a project that is fully funded and that will add between 32 and 35 parking spots. “It is much needed,” Riehl said.

The budget earned the support of council members Steve Guidugli, Ryan Salzman, and Melissa Tatum. Council members Rodney Poynter and David Slater opposed the budget, and Matt Olliges was not present at Wednesday’s meeting.

“The budget overall, I don’t think is bad. There’s just a couple of things I don’t like,” Slater said after the meeting. He said, in particular, that the police department should have more funding. The police department’s budget was reduced year over year by 1.8 percent, or nearly $20,000. Slater said that part of a $150,000 carryover should have been used for the police.

“We got that extra money but we cut the budget for the police department and we’re still putting a (property tax increase),” said Slater, who also voted against the standard ad valorem (vehicular tax). “It hasn’t changed since 1983,” Slater said of the car tax, “I just didn’t like it.”

The police, he said, should get bigger pay raises than the 2 percent offered in the approved budget. “And we have the best damn police department in Northern Kentucky,” Slater said.

Councilman Ryan Salzman offered support for the budget, citing the additional $10,000 added for the Bellevue Vets, an increase of $10,000 for a total of $15,000. He also applauded a $20,000 package for grant programs that will go towards special events, youth activities, promotional materials, tree replacement, and curb and sidewalk repair.

“I am very proud that we created a package of grant programs for issues raised by each council person and echoed by citizens,” Salzman said. “I think these continue Bellevue's commitment to reasonable investment in our community given our available resources.”

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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