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Monett Council adopts $38.1 million budget

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Broadway in Monett, facing west from Fourth Street, circa 1910.
The Monett City Council adopted a $38.1 million budget for fiscal year 2010-11 at the March meeting on Friday. Adjustments were made to the 2009-10 budget as well, including the addition of $500 bonuses for each of the city's full-time employees.

City Administrator Dennis Pyle projected revenues in FY 2010-11 of $37.9 million. Pyle expected sales tax income would be 6 percent lower than the total for FY 2009-10, taking a conservative view for planning purposes in spite of recent numbers suggesting improvements in the local economic picture.

"For November to February, sales tax income has been about the same [as the previous year]," Pyle said. "There's been a less than 1 percent variance. Income for March, however, was down 17 percent.

"I don't think any of us yet think the economy has bottomed out," Pyle said. "I think it will still be a fairly volatile year. Sale tax income will probably be like last year if we're lucky."

Council members adopted the previously announced budget plan without making changes.

The budget for FY 2009-10 was amended to match actual income and spending totals. Pyle said the $651,000 in additional revenue from settlements with phone companies for unpaid back taxes had not been worked into the original budget. When the settlements would become final was not clear, and the settlement with Alltel was larger than original projections.

In addition, Pyle said the Missouri Department of Transportation made its payment toward the widening of Highway 60 and Business 60 in the original tax increment financing project earlier than expected. Plans were made to replace the Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) at the Monett Municipal Airport. Pyle said the AWOS project did not take place and may not even happen in the coming year if state funds are not available.

Finally, Pyle said the major work upgrading a lift station at the waste treatment plant had not been finished. Most of the work would continue into the next fiscal year.

Pyle said the FY 2010-11 budget did not include a cost-of-living raise for employees. Since the city ended the year with more money than expected, council members agreed to give a one-time $500 payment to each of its full-time employees for work done during the past year.

"The economic conditions still being experienced and forecasted to continue through the following fiscal year will not sustain a permanent increase in wages due to anticipated stagnant or declining sales tax revenue," stated the ordinance approving the additional employee pay.

"If we have better revenues than projected, we'll be back at this point next year," Pyle said. "There's no promises the bonus will be repeated."

"We appreciate employees understanding the situation," said Mayor Jim Orr.

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