New Port Richey city officials were given the go-ahead Tuesday, Feb. 19, to hire new employees in several departments.
The New Port Richey City Council authorized at its Tuesday meeting the hiring of some department staff.
The money needed to fund hires requested by department heads totals $99,122, according to a memo. The hires could come around April 1.
City Council also approved more hours for part-time staff.
This past September, city council approved a lean budget that resulted in the layoffs of eight full-time employees. Two more positions were reduced from full to part-time. It had been projected earlier that the city faced a $17 million five-year deficit.
City officials say that financial projections are is looking better. The finance director Doug Haag has previously credited decisions made this past budget season, like ones to raise the city’s millage rate and stormwater and streetlight fees, for the change.
"However, the most significant change is that the City will soon be able to transfer an additional $1 million/year from the utility fund as a result of the proceeds from the sale of assets by the City several years ago," he said.
But that still leaves the issue of staffing.
Overtime for the current fiscal year is now at 45 percent and will be exhausted by June at this rate, said Interim City Manager Susan Dillinger.
“The staffing cutbacks have severely hampered our ability to carry out business for our residents,” she said.
The proposed hires include:
- A full-time development technician for the development department
- A full-time maintenance worker at the parks and recreation department
- A full-time recreation manager for the parks and recreation department
- A part-time customer service representative in the finance department
- The hiring of two part-time civilians to review red light camera footage. This is currently done by a sworn police officer. The civilians would be instructed in how to do the job, but traffic citations have to be signed off by a sworn officer.
City council members also authorized changing a part-time accounting clerk to a full-time accounting clerk job. In addition, they approved the promotion of a part-time librarian at the New Port Richey Public Library to a full-time job and increasing the hours of a part-time librarian assistant. The library has no overtime budget.
There were also proposals for other staffing increases at public works, the parks and recreation department and the human resources department.