Police overtime hours increased slightly but costs dropped because many officers used overtime for time off rather than cash, Assistant Chief Randy Gaber said. The department was slightly over its overtime budget last year.
Police overtime is influenced by special events, like the visit by President Barack Obama, where holidays fall, SWAT calls and contractual obligations, Gaber said.
Protests at the Capitol are causing more overtime this year. In the first quarter, overtime hours rose 41 percent and costs jumped 72 percent to $721,358. Costs are higher because officers are taking pay rather than time off, Gaber said.
"If we're short staffed, it's harder for officers to get time off," he said.
The department has a contingency plan to limit overtime, but costs could be $300,000 over budget this year, he said.
Streets overtime fell last year because the snowfall in 2010 was less than the previous year, Superintendent Al Schumacher said. But a snowy start to 2011 means costs will be up this year, he said.
In the Fire Department, higher overtime costs were due mostly to staffing a new fire station and ambulance company while new hires were in training, finance manager Rita Johnson said.