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HIGH SPRINGS – The City of High Springs Commission is making changes to the City’s 2019-20 budget. Commissioners approved an ordinance on first reading to amend the budget. The ordinance will be heard a second time for final reading at the March 12 meeting. If it is approved at that time, the ordinance will go into effect.

Several reasons for the changes were mentioned, but most stemmed from personnel-related issues. City Manager Joel DeCoursey, Jr. reviewed some of those reasons.

The City will be hiring a new meter reader. Although all new construction is being provided with the new electronic meters, a number of the old meters are still in place and must be read individually.

Changes to the Planning and Zoning Department include the use of an outside firm, Kimley-Horn planning staff, at a not-to-exceed amount of $3,000 per month and the hiring of an office assistant.

In the future, code enforcement duties will be handled through the High Springs Police Department (HSPD). A person will be trained to perform code enforcement duties, but will also serve as a field service technician. This person will be wearing a HSPD uniform and will be able to communicate directly with the department via radio from any site they are on to help them determine if the property is vacant or if there are any extenuating circumstances to be considered before approaching the property owner.

The Deputy Chief position will not be funded this year. Funds saved from that line item will be used to hire a detective, another officer and a traffic officer. HSPD Chief Antoine Sheppard said there had been three traffic deaths during the past year and he believed another traffic officer might help make a difference.

The amount of the adjustment is nearly $43,000, some of which is coming from the personnel changes, some from the Contingency Fund and an additional $71,000 was removed from Wild Spaces Public Places funds to provide AED Defibrillators to the Recreation Department for use at City sporting events.

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