APD to end year with projected surplus

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany Police Department Chief John Proctor presented a $15.9 million budget to the City Commission Tuesday, which is roughly $100,000 less than last year's allocation.

The proposal comes alongside news that the department will apparently generate a projected $2.8 million surplus when the books are closed at the end of this fiscal year on June 30.

That surplus is due mostly to salary and benefits from budgeted positions that have not been filled, Proctor said. The department currently has about 17 positions left to fill -- a task Proctor said he hopes to have completed by August.

In a two-page document presented to commissioners, Proctor requested $10,000 in funding for ammunition, $4,812 for uniforms and equipment, $34,005 for an increase in entry-level training, $4,075 for supervisory training and $10,000 for position reclassifications.

Other details of the budget were not immediately known.

The request is roughly $100,000 less than last year's amount, city finance officials say.

Proctor said his office is continuing to fill a large number of vacancies, which at one point had reached 40, that he inherited when he took office.

In addition to that priority, the APD Chief told commissioners he intends to continue using a three-pronged strategy to advance the directives of the Commission and city manager's office.

Those strategies -- increasing overall public service, improving crime fighting efforts and integrating technology as a tool for efficiency -- will compliment a renewed effort toward improving customer service and overall efficiency, Proctor said.

In addition to the training, uniforms and ammunition, Proctor gave the commission what he referred to as his "wish list" of capital projects, which included mobile data computers for police cars and in-car camera systems.

Commissioners discussed the possibility of using unspent sales tax dollars or the department surplus to go ahead and purchase the computers and camera systems -- a move city staff said they would research, although City Manager Alfred Lott said he would prefer that the Commission wait until after the books are closed and clear on June 30 before committing part or all of the surplus funds.

Tuesday's budget request didn't include a specific reference to a $200,000 increase in funding for the APD's Gang Unit, which will be receiving funds from the city coffers through the Longterm Financial Planning Fund if the joint city/Water, Gas & Light Commission committee approves the request.