City of Willow Springs holds budget work session

The Willow Springs Board of Aldermen met in special session last Monday for a budget work session. There was no action taken. The aldermen are expected to review the 2024 budget at their regular meeting this Thursday, Nov. 16. 
Draft minutes of the meeting record the following considerations that will influence the $7.6 million budget for the upcoming year. 
-Electric rates:  The City Administrator does not recommend a rate adjustment for the beginning of 2024.
-Water/Sewer Rates:  Customers will likely see a three percent increase in 2024. The last rate increase occurred as a three-year step increase from 2017 through 2019 at a rate of 3.5 percent each year. Some of the department’s expenses, such as uniforms, fuel, and employee benefits, have increased in cost, resulting in an overall spike of fifteen percent in costs. With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) continuing to impose new regulations, expenses are expected to continue increasing. These rates will be reevaluated at the end of next year. 
-Airport:  The runway will be resurfaced in 2024 through a 90/10 MoDOT multi-modal grant, with the City’s ten percent match being approximately $38,000.00.  The airport board also requested funds to upgrade the lounge with a new heating and cooling unit.
-Administration/City Hall:  The city is due for a review of the city’s municipal codes, which ensures the local ordinances are consistent with state and federal laws. The last study took place in 2008. The cost associated with this review will be approximately $12,000.00.
-Animal Control/Code Enforcement:  The city’s current transport cage is very old, worn, and only allows one animal.  A request has been made to purchase a new double carrier and one mobile singular model to accommodate small animals for a total cost of approximately $2,000.00.
-Electric Department:  Lead times and material costs continue to increase. The city plans to purchase a load of electric poles for approximately $36,000.00.  A 7200 voltage recloser is of the highest priority for large circuits such as the south junction and the industrial park at a cost of approximately $35,000.00.
-Sewer Department:  One focus for 2024 is to seal/grout manholes and lift stations where infiltration is evident.  The first stage will cost approximately $40,000.00.  
-Water Department:  The High Street tower needs repairs to maintain compliance with DNR regulations and the cost will be approximately $29,000.00.
-Fire Department:  The city will continue to replace SCBA breathing apparatuses and bunker gear for firefighter safety. However, they plan to continue to search for grant funding to offset these costs.
-Police Department:  The plan is to purchase agency-issued rifles and shot guns in the future and increase the training/education budget to ensure police officer safety, as well as remain compliant for risk mitigation.
The city is also looking to be placed on a replacement program with Peacemaker, who is the company that provides data terminals in the cars.  A three-year replacement would cost $2,350.00 per vehicle.  A four-year replacement would cost $1,875.00 per vehicle.  A four-year replacement (including the handheld ticket writer) would cost $2,500.00 per vehicle.  Each of these options provide a no-fault warranty.
A request was also made to update security cameras for the new evidence room, along with 2 gun safes for both evidence weapons and agency-issued weapons.
-Street Department:  One goal is to provide more paved streets, over-lays, and chip-sealing with the new oil distributor, which will increase the supply/material budget from the current $107,000.00 to $140,000.00 for oil, rock, and concrete.
A request was also made for a used 5-yard dump truck with an estimated cost of $40,000.00.
-Wastewater Treatment:  The replacement of the influent control panel was requested as top priority for a cost of approximately $38,000.00.
The city will continue purchasing 2.2 HP pumps for the filters and keep them on the shelf for the event when a existing one needs replaced.
There is a need to replace gears for the clarifier for a cost of approximately $11,000.00. Bearings and chains for the aerator need to be replaced for approximately $4,000.00.
The lift station on Sunshine Drive is very old and will need to be replaced for a cost of approximately $185,603.00.
-Employee Wages:  According to the Social Security Administration, the 2024 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) will be 3.2% and upon approval of the board of aldermen, the wage grade/step plan will be adjusted.
-Several departments have discussed the need of pole barns or buildings to house the new equipment, vehicles, and critical supplies for an approximate cost of $80,000.00.  This would protect hydraulic hoses, keep snow/ice from piling up on vehicles and equipment, and allow items to be plugged in.  While this is not currently in the budget, the board may revisit the discussion later.
-The Willow Springs Public Library requested a ten percent increase in support to $3,575.00 monthly, for an annual total of $42,900.00.  The city currently provides annual support in the amount of $39,000.00.
-The Willow Springs YMCA has requested a continuation of the current annual support in the amount of $16,200.00.
-The Willow Springs Chamber of Commerce has requested a continuation of the current annual support in the amount of $1,200.00 for the purpose of a utility cost off-set.
Content Paywall Trunction: 

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

Comment Here