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Frugal spending plan outlined for departments in proposed budget for Monett

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The proposed $31.9 million "no frills" budget proposed by the Monett City Council for its new fiscal year beginning April 1 means more frugal spending for the city's various departments.

According to the budget statement prepared by City Administrator Dennis Pyle, the Police Department will be playing catch-up on past spending. The budget proposal has $29,648 in it to pay for three police cars purchased in 2008, as well as $46,500 for upgrading the communications system.

The Street Department plans to chip and seal approximately 77,235 square yards or almost 44 miles of city streets in the coming year at a cost of $129,349. Pyle indicated the cost-per-square-yard had increased 34 percent over last year. The lease purchase deal on the street sweeper will be paid off during the coming fiscal year.

To track Street Department expenses more carefully, new line items have been added to follow spending on ice control and fuel. Although $100,000 is budgeted for ice supplies, Pyle stated the city moves into the new year having approximately 600 tons of road salt in stock, purchased at year-end prices last spring.

Spending on the parks and recreation would continue similarly to preceding years. Pyle noted the city would again contribute $35,000 as part of its contract with the Monett Area YMCA to operate and manage the municipal swimming pool for the coming summer. The city will also start collecting rent from the YMCA for use of the old armory on Euclid at a rate of $500 a month.

The lease on the gymnastics center on Park Street will expire at the end of May. The city council plans to put the lease out for bid again. At the present time, the lease brings in $1,000 a month, which Pyle expected would change.

The Monett Municipal Airport will follow a pattern expected from other operations and bring in less revenue from ongoing services, such as the sale of aviation fuel.

"This budget projects income from fuel sales to be $200,000, less expenses of $80,000, for a gross profits margin of $120,000," Pyle projected. He noted Monett's fuel prices remain very competitive with surrounding airports, which helps keep sales strong.

In the coming year, the airport master plan update should be finished by the Kansas City-based engineering firm of Bucher, Willis and Ratliff. The city will also begin relocating its automated weather observation system (AWOS). The two projects together will cost $375,000, though after reimbursement from state and federal funds, the city's total cost will be $32,250.

The Fire Department is budgeted to spend $1,105,480 in the coming year. That is almost $40,000 more than the previous year. Pyle was not available at presstime to explain the change, nor had Chief Tom Jones seen the budget. Pyle had not indicated any major new spending was planned. The department is expected to be back at full strength at regular pay later this year, when Leon Frear returns from his second stint in Iraq.

No fee increases are planned for the Windmill Ridge Golf Course in the coming year. Revenues are anticipated at $320,000, while expenses are figured to run $594,977. Principle and interest payments on the nine-hole expansion and equipment will run $146,922.

During the first quarter of the new fiscal year, the city will complete the Eisenhower railroad overpass and the new bridge over Clear Creek, immediately south of the tracks. The Eisenhower bridge will cost approximately $147,000 with other expenses covered by the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Burlington Northern Railroad. The Clear Creek bridge will cost $106,500, most of which will be covered by $95,000 out of the tax increment financing fund.

The final portion of the Greenways Trail will also be finished with completion of the two bridges. Cost for the last leg of sidewalks for a walking and bicycling route encircling the city is expected to be $45,000. Of that, 70 percent of the cost for materials, equipment and labor will be reimbursed with federal Transportation Enhancement Funds. The city's 30 percent match is provided through labor.

Utilities will see concentrated spending on repairs and maintenance. Capital improvements of $580,000 are planned for installation of a booster pump station increasing the hydraulic capacity of the west lift station, and re-routing the sewer interceptor at First and Front streets. At the waste treatment plant, lab equipment will be replaced and installation will continue on the Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, allowing operation of key functions by remote control rather than on-site.

Pyle projected the water, electric, sewer, fiber optics and sanitation services would bring in $4,329,800 in the coming year, while spending would run $4,871,898, including engineering for a water system upgrade. The sale of electricity is expected to generate $351,425 in revenue, after sales totaling $17.7 million. No increases in electric rates are planned for the coming year.

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