HARKER HEIGHTS — Preliminary budget figures show the Harker Heights Police Department will see a modest increase to its budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

A preliminary budget document from the city showed the police department’s budget at a little more than $5.8 million for the 2015 fiscal year. That amount is about $400,000 more than the department’s budget for FY14, which is projected to top out at $5.4 million.

According to the data, the bulk of expenses comes from personnel service costs, which include salaries and benefits for department employees.

This year, the budget for Heights PD salaries shows an increase from a little more than $3 million projected for this current budget year, to $3.3 million for the upcoming fiscal year. That number likely includes funds for two new positions in the police department, a deputy police chief and a patrol officer, according to the preliminary budget report.

The department’s salaries also will benefit from a proposed 3 percent salary adjustment for all city employees, should the proposed budget be approved. In total, the personnel services category makes up nearly $4.7 million of the department’s $5.8 million proposed budget.

The proposed operations budget for the city’s fire department and paramedic also is slated to increase. The total proposed personnel service budget is $3 million, compared to the projected $2.9 million for the current fiscal year. That amount includes an $839,000 increase in salaries.

According to a summary in the city’s proposed budget, the department will have one new firefighter/paramedic.

The department’s administration also will add a new position for a “medical director” at a budgeted cost of $27,900. “This line item funds the medical director and the fire department’s wellness program,” the report stated.

That line item is included in the proposed budget for the fire department administration, which totals $569,200.

Overall, the Harker Heights Fire Department’s proposed total operational budget is $3.4 million.

As with most cities, public safety accounts for the lion’s share of budget. Harker Heights is no exception, City Manager David Mitchell said.

“In the budget for this coming fiscal year, it’s about 52 percent of the general fund,” Mitchell said.

The proposed budget has not been approved by the council. A public hearing on the proposed budget and the city’s tax rate is scheduled for Aug. 26.

The city is set to approve the budget at a meeting Sept. 9.

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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