Harlem council members said they are not going to spend much more in 2002 than they did in 2001.
When the budgetary smoke cleared at the end of the Dec. 27 meeting, next year's numbers did indeed resemble the previous year's.
Harlem's budget for 2000-01 was $1,120,805. The proposed budget for 2001-02 is $1,171,714. The city works on a calendar year.
Council members said they expect to pass the budget Jan. 14.
At first glance, it could appear that some departments were denied a significant amount of money. The police and fire departments are set to receive $25,500 and $44,040 respectively, less than each requested.
A closer look shows most of the money not granted was from capital outlay - money marked for big-ticket purchases.
The police department originally asked for $27,500 for new equipment, including $17,000 for a new car for the chief. But Chief Jerry Baldwin told council members that he would not need a new patrol car, cutting his capital outlay request to $10,500.
Baldwin might not lose that money, though. Council member Scott Dean said when the board put together the 2000-01 budget, members changed it so departments could earmark unused money for specific purposes and allow it to carry over from year to year.
"If we don't spend it now, it doesn't go back to the general fund," Dean said. "It stays in that department."
Should there be a surplus, the police department could use some of the money for the car next year.
The fire department will get $20,350 for equipment in the coming year's budget, but the money will be taken from a surplus in the 2000-01 budget.
The one question each department head had for council members concerned raises. The council decided to give a 3 percent cost-of-living raise to employees of five years or more, and a 2 percent raise to those with fewer than five years. The raises will take effect at the beginning of the year.
In July, every employee will be given a yearly evaluation and, depending on the results, will be given a second raise.
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