The City of Sedalia has a new budget after approval from the Sedalia City Council during Monday night’s meeting.
The Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget will begin April 1. With the budget approval came numerous ordinance approvals to prepare for the new budget year. Council also:
• Approved final amendments to the Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget.
• Approved an agreement with Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County for FY20 appropriation of $132,500.
• Approved adoption of revised financial management policies. A few years ago, council adopted financial management policies, primarily to help in creating each year’s budget. After the Transportation Fund was separated out of the General Revenue Fund, the city’s general fund balance policy needed to be updated. With the updated policy, the fund balance will be between 35 percent and 75 percent of total revenues. The FY20 budget is at 60.7 percent.
• Approved a resolution declaring intent to finance costs for constructing, installing, improving and equipping capital projects related to the city’s wastewater treatment plant and system. Public Works Director Brenda Ardrey gave a presentation during last month’s budget work session regarding a long list of needs in the Water Pollution Control Department. City Administrator Kelvin Shaw explained the resolution is necessary so work can be funded through general revenue while the city waits on receiving the bonds from refinancing existing debt, then the city can be reimbursed when those funds are available. Council directed city staff to refinance the existing $30 million project to be able to borrow $4.1 million and to borrow additional funds for a total of $5 million. Shaw said this will slightly increase the city’s debt service.
• Approved an ordinance accepting a Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission STP-Urban Program supplemental agreement relating to downtown Sedalia streetscape Phase IV improvements. Approved an ordinance accepting an agreement with Norton & Schmidt Consulting Engineers LLC for a pre-construction survey and video of the structural condition of buildings adjacent to a portion of downtown Sedalia streetscape Phase IV. Shaw said Phase IV is the remaining block or so on South Ohio Avenue. These ordinances get preparations done so work can begin when FY20 takes effect and be worked around the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival in late May.
• Approved a five-year capital improvements plan to end in 2024.
The city hosted three public hearings before the meeting began regarding sewer rate increase, water rate increase, and the FY20 budget. No public comment was offered by citizens.
Shaw said each increase is about 3.8 percent and the average citizen will see a total increase of about $1.95 per month.
Ward 3 Councilman Bob Cross said he wanted to make sure citizens were aware the increases were not due to the city’s purchase of trash and recycling carts and side-loading trash trucks last year.
“I think it's necessary,” Shaw said of the increases. “Even with that (increase) we’re still not at a break even on WPC (Water Pollution Control) and we are at break even on Water but with the amount of capital expenditures we’ve got going, we need those rates to be there.”
According to figures in the FY20 budget, WPC will still be at a $1 million loss, which includes depreciation, even with the rate increase.
He explained that the city has planned for gradual rate increases instead of one large increase by using reserve funds for a few years to cover remaining costs. Mayor John Kehde echoed a discussion from the budget work session that services like water and sewer should be paid for by users and not by the general fund, which is primarily sales tax revenue.
Council approved both increases, with Cross and Ward 4 Councilwoman Megan Page voting no both times.
During the meeting council also:
• Approved an ordinance stating intent to seek funding through the community development block grant program in support of a technology center for State Fair Community College and authorizing SFCC to apply for the grant. Block grants must go through a municipality, so SFCC had to seek council approval. JoLynn Turley and Andrew Dawson abstained.
• Approved a records destruction request from the Personnel Department.
• Approved an ordinance accepting a dedicated voice and internet bundle agreement with AT&T to implement increased bandwidth necessary for including the cemetery office in the municipal phone and data network.
• Approved an ordinance accepting an agreement with Triple C Underground LLC relating to the Nucor and Henry Street water line extension project. Cost is $319,000.
• Approved an ordinance amending ordinance No. 10219 by correcting the date in the farmland lease agreement with Richard Helmig for farmland adjacent to the Sedalia Regional Airport.
• Approved an ordinance accepting a program merchant agreement with World Fuel Services for the Sedalia Regional Airport. Shaw and Airport Director Eric Bowers explained the agreement means the city will offer a discount scale for organization members and World Fuel will help advertise Sedalia’s fuel rates.
• Approved a records destruction request from the Sedalia Police Department.
• Approved an ordinance granting a special use permit to Firstwave Properties LLC to construct a 150-foot guyed communications tower at 923 N. Grand Ave. Approval was recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
• Approved a liquor license renewal.
Ward 4 Councilman Tollie Rowe was absent.