Langley budget hearing set for Nov. 18

An opportunity for the public to comment on Langley’s proposed budget will take place at the upcoming City Council meeting on Monday.

The budget hearing follows a workshop held this past Tuesday, at which City Council began discussing the budget.

Mayor Tim Callison addressed the council with his budget narrative. He said the 2020 budget assumes the police department is fully staffed, the planning assistant position changes to permit tech and the clerk-treasurer, Debbie Mahler, retires in May.

“The current budget shows the split duties model, as was originally presented and approved when we started hiring the replacements for Debbie,” Callison said.

Council member Dominique Emerson expressed her concern over the proposed split of Mahler’s roles into two positions.

“We are a small town with 1,000 people. The clerk treasurer model has worked for us for a long time,” Emerson said at the workshop. “The fact that we don’t have someone trained to do that position can be resolved, either by hiring or increased training.”

The proposed budget includes costs for training a clerk and a treasurer, new to the finance department. The salary schedule has not yet been decided.

“The salary savings from the clerk treasurer retirement would fund both the treasurer and the clerk, and the retired clerk treasurer return to part-time work,” Callison said.

As part of the discussion, Emerson suggested the planning department needs more employees hired instead of the finance department.

Police department wages have a proposed increase of $48,494, for a total of $278,940 in 2020. Callison said the new police chief needed to be paid to relocate to the island, and he is within the approved salary grid.