The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

ICPD purchases $350,000 in vehicles, looks ahead to next fiscal year budget

The department also hopes to reach its full 85-officer capacity next fiscal year.
Jordan Barry/The Daily Iowan
Mayor Bruce Teague addresses the council during a Iowa City City Council meeting at the City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024.

The Iowa City Police Department has purchased $350,000 worth of vehicles after dealing with months of supply chain shortages and delays.

This purchase — as well as other smaller equipment purchases and a $100,000 camera project in the Pedestrian Mall — is what made up the nearly $700,000 difference between the fiscal 2024 original budget and its revised budget.

City Manager Geoff Fruin wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan that 74 percent of the money needed to make these purchases was budgeted in the prior fiscal year but was not spent in that year.

ICPD Chief Dustin Liston said this situation is often called a “carryover” because the money has been budgeted to be spent in one year but is carried into the next year.

“They are not newly budgeted expenses — it is rather a timing discrepancy between when funds were budgeted and when expenses are anticipated to be realized,” Fruin wrote.

Nicole Davies, the city’s finance director, said these carryover situations have occurred more frequently as supply chain shortages have become more common in recent years.

When unanticipated situations like this arise, Davies said there are a couple of ways the city can balance the budget.

One way is for the city to change or amend the budget to adjust for carryovers or unexpected costs, which is what a revised budget reflects. Davies said these amendments typically happen a couple of times a year.

A recent example of a budget amendment occurred at a Sept. 19, 2023, city council meeting. The other way is to pull from the city’s reserve funds or budgets that are underspent and have additional funds.

The city council and staff are currently in the process of creating the budget for fiscal 2025, which will start on July 1.

Looking ahead, Liston said the ICPD hopes to hire its maximum allowed capacity of 85 sworn officers. Right now, the ICPD has 82 sworn officers, Liston said.

In the three years that Liston has served as chief of police for the city, he said they have never been at full capacity.

Working under full capacity has strained members of the department and led to long hours and overtime, so Liston said he is excited to see what the station can accomplish at full force.

Additionally, Liston said the ICPD is hoping to hire a civilian officer to work as a data or crime analyst. This position would help the department work more efficiently by identifying crime trends and evaluating where the ICPD’s resources would be best spent, he said.

In the past, this position has been filled by a sworn officer, but it made more financial sense to hire a civilian since they have different benefit packages and training requirements than police officers, Liston said.

“I think [the position] allows the police department to do the job smarter and more efficiently,” Liston said. “Which, in the long run, I think allows us to probably keep the cost down.”

RELATED: Iowa City city officials concerned about future budget cuts

Another example of carryover present in the fiscal 2024 revised budget is in the city manager’s office line. Fruin wrote the nearly $6 million difference between the original and revised budgets is largely because the city purchased 21 S. Linn St., which was $4.55 million.

The property on Linn Street is an empty lot across from the Senior Center. The city purchased the lot in July 2023, which was unexpected, Fruin wrote. The lot was previously owned by a real estate investment company that planned to develop the Linn Street property but decided it no longer wanted the lot.

The rest of the $6 million differential were other carryover expenses as well as wage bonuses for unionized city staff. Some unionized members of the police department also received a bonus, which accounts for some of its $700,000 differential.

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About the Contributor
Isabelle Foland
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.