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Murrysville looks to eliminate ‘exorbitant’ police overtime in 2019 budget |

Murrysville looks to eliminate ‘exorbitant’ police overtime in 2019 budget

Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
The Murrysville Police Department, along with county detectives and area law enforcement, serve search warrants in Murrysville, on Friday, Feb.24, 2017.

Murrysville officials are looking to reduce what finance director Diane Heming called an “exorbitant” amount of overtime racked up by police this year.

The department incurred about $400,000 in overtime expenses so far in 2018, Heming said. And the 2019 budget proposes pulling the Franklin Regional School District’s school resource officer and placing him back in the department’s patrol rotation.

The school district and municipality split the cost of the school resource officer, “so we won’t have that revenue coming in, but we still believe that having shift coverage (and reducing overtime) will make up that difference,” Heming told board members Wednesday.

The Franklin Regional school board recently voted to form its own internal police department. It has filed a legal petition formalizing the request.

“Though we fully support keeping an SRO in our schools because of what this relationship brings to our students, families and staff, we also understand the municipality’s rationale for this proposal,” said Franklin Regional Communications Director Cara Zanella. “Should the decision be made to eliminate the SRO, we are confident that the critical safety and security services now provided by the SRO can be met by the FRSD school police.”

Heming also proposed hiring a police officer in order to get him or her trained and prepared to replace a department officer who will be retiring.

The rest of the 2019 budget, which proposes about $14.7 million in spending, is fairly standard for the municipality and does not include a tax increase. Murrysville officials have not raised taxes in more than a decade.

“We had some expenses this year that were unanticipated, so kudos to staff for working through that,” council President Josh Lorenz said. “There may be some slight variances between what’s before us and what we vote on in December, but it looks like we’ll be able to get through it without a tax increase.”

The current tax rate is 12.15 mills. A vote on the municipality’s final 2019 budget is tentatively set for Dec. 19.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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