The council approved the 2020-2021 budget.

The Chillicothe City Council met by conference call on Monday evening to approve the city’s budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which began Wednesday. They also discussed the city and community’s response to the COVID-19 virus and its impacts locally.

The council, by a vote of 5-0 approved the 2020-2021 Chillicothe City Budget. The budget includes $18,159,179 in expenditures. City Administrator Darin Chappell reported the city anticipated $17,434,206 in revenue from General Fund, Police Education Fund, Street Fund, Permanent Street Fund, Capital Project Fund, Missouri North Central Railroad Fund, Green Hills Golf Course, TIF Fund, 911 Dispatch Loan Fund, Capital Improvement Tax, Urban Development Action Grant and the Missouri Development Action Grant.

The revenue from those funding sources left a difference of $715,974 in the city’s 2020-2021 budget.

Chappell said with reserve funds in the Permanent Street Fund and Capital Improvement Expenditures, the city will transfer money over to cover the difference and balance the budget, as required by state law.

Chappell did confirm the budget includes a 3% pay increase for city employees.

While discussing the budget for Chillicothe Municipal Utilities (CMU), Jim Gillilan, general manger for CMU, confirmed the utility company’s budget included anticipated revenue from a 1.3% increase in water rates for customers, and 5.3% increase in sewer rates, both effective this month.

Gillilan reported the last water rate increase was in 2009. The new water rate will increase a residential customer’s water bill by about $2 per month, and the sewer rate increase will add an approximate $1.20 per month for a residential customer. The last sewer rate increase was in 2009.

The new city budget also approved hiring additional code enforcement officers. Chappell noted one officer will be hired at a time to allow current staff to only have to train one new employee at a time. On Wednesday, the city opened the application process for the code enforcement officer, with a starting pay of $18.55 an hour.

During each council meeting the mayor, council members and other city officials are allowed to address the council and those in attendance. During Monday night’s meeting, Mayor Theresa Kelly spoke about the response from city staff, community members and other organizations.

“I am confident our community will survive this pandemic and be stronger for it,” she said. “I want to continue to ask for the support of the community … from the bottom of my heart I believe we’ve got this, together we are Chillicothe strong.”

Chappell noted that it is imperative for community members to continue to adhere to social distancing, and he encouraged citizens to support safely local businesses.

“A long as business owners continue to follow recommendations and citizens continue to follow guidelines, as they have been, and as long as we do not have multiple cases it is behooven to us all to keep our businesses open,” he said.

First Ward Councilmen Denny Albertson encouraged community members to look out for one another.

“The community of Chillicothe always comes together as we need to continue to do that now,” he said. “Be on the lookout for those people who need help and help them in any way you can.”

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