BY DORIS TRUHLAR
The Centennial City Council has been working on the 2020 budget for several weeks and is expected to give final approval of a $102,400,000 plan for all spending next year.
At a Monday night meeting, highlights included improving safety in the city with the completion of more than 6,000 feet of new sidewalks along city streets, as well as park improvements on the Centennial Center Park adjacent to Centennial City Hall at 13133 East Arapahoe Road.
The budget is proposed by City Manager Matt Sturgeon. The 2020 proposed budget reflects an increase of 17.4 percent, which is $15.2 million, compared to the adopted budget for 2019. Highlights of proposals for next year include the following:
Street-related projects totaling $14.1 million, with the funds being moved to a newly-created street fund.
Building of the Lone Creek Trail at a cost of $3,560,000.
Funding of the Center Park Master Plan, which entails design and infrastructure construction of $2,220,000.
Hiring of a Cyber Security Engineer, at a cost of $162,000 for salary and benefits.
Adding a Junior Database Administrator to the Office of Technology and Innovation at a cost for salary and benefits of $108,000.
Pursuant to the contract that Centennial has with the Office of the Arapahoe County Sherriff, creation of a new Human Resources (“HR”) Business Partner, a civilian position. The Business Partner will be responsible for many HR functions, at a cost of $112,980.
A Neighborhood Services position including a full-time employee, for a total of $235,560, with $125,560 in personnel costs, $40,000 in professional services, and $70,000 for a neighborhood grant program. This is a somewhat controversial program, with a vote of 6-3 in favor. Sturgeon told the council that the city needs an employee who will “reach out” to the city’s neighborhoods. The hope is that the program will provide a greater sense of community. It might include neighborhood clean-up projects and recycling programs, fence maintenance and enhanced landscaping.
Two new code compliance officers are likely to be added to city staff, with one assigned to the eastern side of the city and the other to the western side.
In a report to the council Monday night, Jim Albee, one of the citizen members of the Centennial Budget Committee, stated that the 2020 proposed budget “indicates the city is well positioned financially” and that the budget will allow the city to provide services “desired by the citizens.”
Albee said the city’s budget allows it “to maintain high levels of service in key areas such as public safety and public works.”
Sturgeon told the council that future needs will include charging stations for electric cars.
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