Sparks to Tap Reserve Funds for Police, Firefighters

Sparks city officials plan to tap reserve funds to pay for more police and firefighters.

City officials are banking on a 6 percent increase in sales and other taxes for the current fiscal year to make up the difference.

In all, the city's proposed general fund budget totals $71.3 million, an increase of 13.2 percent over current spending levels.

For the police department, the proposed budget contains a full year's salaries for three police officers hired in February, an information technology specialist to replace one expected to retire soon, and one sergeant and one officer for patrol to be hired in January, officials said.

The fire department would gain three firefighters in October.

City Manager Shaun Carey said the city must keep up with public safety and using more reserves is prudent because officials expect
a stronger economy in the coming fiscal year that starts July 1.

"We have a city that is growing," Carey said. "We continue to view the slowdown in the economy as a pause."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)