Department heads from Beaufort Police Department and the city's administration presented budgets to city council with little pushback Tuesday as officials work to prepare a 2016 fiscal year budget to present to council members next week.
Police Chief Matt Clancy offered a $4.485 million budget during a council work session at City Hall, almost $200,000 under the amended fiscal year budget for 2015.
Most of the difference can be attributed to a new Spillman communications system for dispatch purchased for almost $250,000 during the current fiscal year. The numbers for next year's police budget raised few eyebrows.
"It's pretty skinny guys," Mayor Billy Keyserling said.
"It's what we need," Clancy replied. "There are no bells and whistles."
That is the theme as all departments tried to tighten belts in preparation for the coming scrutiny.
A budget will be presented to council on May 19. After two public hearings in June, council will then vote, with final approval required by June 30.
The presentations Tuesday were part of a continued series by city department heads as staff and council worked to solve what was a projected $700,000 deficit between requested spending in the next fiscal year and expected revenues.
Finance Director Kathy Todd is estimating there will be $17.1 million in revenue next year. Budgeted expenses are now down to about $17.6 million, City Manager Bill Prokop said after council had completed business.
The budget was trimmed of proposed stormwater work already in the 2015 fiscal budget, Prokop said. Officials discovered that another $65,000 designated for the Lowcountry Housing Trust in the non-departmental budget is no longer needed.
Clancy's requests included three new patrol cars to replace aging Ford Crown Victorias, a new Chevy Tahoe SUV and 35 body cameras for patrol officers. The administrative budget includes creating an economic development director at $75,000 per year.
Prokop commended city staffs for showing "extraordinary restraint."
"They understand the position that we're in," Prokop said. "And it's not there."
Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.