Chillicothe city council members will start the 2013-14 fiscal year with a near-$26 million financial plan.
Council members on Monday evening unanimously adopted a budget projecting $25,152,230 in revenues, and $25,958,589 in expenditures, and the use of several reserve funds.
Also, as part of the city's budget approval, was Chillicothe Municipal Utilities' 2013-14 budget. CMU's financial plan calls for revenues and other income in the amount of $15,079,142, and operating expenses of $14,897,748 (including a 1.7 cost of living adjustment for employees). The budget also involves decreasing reserves in the amount of $252,000.
Prior to adopting the budget, the city conducted a public hearing during it's council meeting.
Alvin Thompson, of rural Chillicothe, was the only member from the public offering comment regarding the budget. His discussion centered largely around $1 million he said should be in the capital improvements fund for the old prison property on West Third Street. The city had agreed to pay the Foutch Brothers $1 million over the course of four years ($250,000 annually) for renovation of the old prison property. To date, those payments have not yet been made because the project had not yet started.
"That million should be in the capital improvements," Thompson said. "It's already been budgeted."
Council members stated that although the money was budgeted in previous years, it was not spent and could be used for other capital projects.
The capital improvement sales tax fund is slated to start the new fiscal year, which begins April 1, with a balance of $1,110,494. An estimated $774,388 is expected to be generated for the year. The budget calls for expenditures of just $1,051,490, with an ending balance of $847,287.
The largest expenditure on the capital improvements list is a $396,435 payment for the new water park, followed by the second-to-last payment for the bowling center, and the first of four $250,000 payments for the old prison property. Also in the fund is $65,000 for the airport state block grant.
The pool project, which will be completed this spring, is expected to be paid off in the 2022-23 budget year. As for the bowling center, the city plans to pay $330,555 this year, and make the final payment of $243,976, in budget year 2014-15.
The city's budget reflects the first year the city has 911 dispatch service (a service that, until the end of last year, was provided by the county's sheriff's department).
City Administrator Ike Holland said he was pleased with the budget and the effort made by the department managers.
"Overall, I am pleased with the work with the department heads on getting a sharp pencil out and cutting every line as much as possible, without using an axe, but more like a scalpel, so that we make sure that we keep our commitment to the community to provide the services and the level of quality that they have come to know by the city of Chillicothe," Holland said.
No cost of living raises were budgeted for this year, Holland said. However, because of rising health insurance, the city is paying more for health insurance coverage for its employees. Both the city and its employees are paying more for the premiums; however, the city is paying a greater increase of that portion.
Third Ward Councilman Tom Douglas said that he would like to have added a cost of living increase to employees.
Holland noted two major projects that will be completed during the city's new fiscal year: the $4.2 million Chilli Bay Water Park, which will open by Memorial Day 2013, and the new Hedrick Medical Center, slated for a February 2014 opening.
Administrator Holland identified some highlights of the city's budget:
• Reduced and refined line fund items to provide for a more accurate representation of the budget;
• The new Chilli Bay Water Park will open this summer at a cost of $4.2 million. Operation costs will increase, but so will revenues.
• New cell phone policy that would give department heads $60 per month and others $30 per month (citywide);
• Two new police vehicles ($57,000);
• New vehicle for emergency services;
• New dispatch budget for police;
• New policy for boots, gloves and coveralls to $100 and roll over amount up to $200 for streets department;
• Airport taxiway grant;
• Police facility for dispatchers, bullet proof glass, $6,800 (facilities);
• New culvert for railroad project ($40,000);
• New dispatch software for dispatch and patrolmen ($27,000);
• Provide one-half off of all green fees and cart prices to the employees (all employees);
• Adopt a compensation plan that is unfunded, but to be used in future years when funding is available.
Second Ward Councilman Wayne Cunningham said he would like to see a funding source other than the Capital Improvements Sale Tax Fund be used to purchase vehicles.
Also, as part of the budget, council members approved contracts with several organizations that provide services to the city and its residents.
The approved contracts:
• Summer Playground Association, $13,000
• Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce, $4,950
• Small Business Development Center, $7,000
• Main Street Chillicothe, $26,000
• University of Missouri Extension Center, $4,000
• Grand River Area Family YMCA, $14,000
• Freedom Festival, $2,000
• Humane Society, $67,600
• OATS Transportation, $10,000
• Rumery and Associates, $36,000 (along with reimbursement agreements with FEC Development, Inc., Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, and Chillicothe Development Corporation to assist with economic development [maximum responsibility of the city, $12,000]).
A contract for city physician services with Dr. Suchsland is pending.