Archive for Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Edwardsville will spend down reserves, use casino funds in 2013

August 29, 2012

The Edwardsville City Council Monday adopted a 2013 budget that will not increase its tax rate but will rely on some casino revenues.

The budget approved after a public hearing at the council’s Monday meeting set maximum expenditures, less transfers, of $6,401,341, maintaining a mill levy of 44.505. But with a $139,173 shortfall in the city’s general fund, the budget will spend down reserve funds and use $405,000 in revenue from the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway.

General fund expenditures will increase about 7.9 percent from the 2012 budget. The biggest increase is the amount the city pays for ambulance service. The Kansas City Kansas Fire Department informed the city it would increase its fee from $150,000 to $225,000, so this summer the council opted to hire a private firm to provide ambulance services at a slightly higher cost, $245,000.

The city also is adding public works personnel, a part-time codes enforcement officer and seasonal park maintenance employees. And the budget includes funds to replace two police patrol vehicles and fire department bunker gear. Another increase in costs stems from the loss of grant funding for two firefighters and one police officer, which ended in mid-2012.

One other factor contributing to the deficit was the possibility of reduced property tax revenue, because a company in the city’s industrial park challenged the value of its building. Webb said after talking to the county, its officials believe the value will remain at $6.6 million; the company thinks it should be $4.85 million.

The difference impacts the city’s revenues by about $20,000, and Webb said the city decided those revenues would be placed in a contingency fund.

“We just won’t spend the contingency, so we’ll basically spend less than what we budgeted to offset the loss of revenue,” Webb said.

Casino revenues will help address the shortfall, but Webb said the city will spend some of its reserves. Casino funds largely will be used for infrastructure improvements, and the city plans an infrastructure study to prioritize its projects.

The council also approved an expenditure from the city’s economic development fund for next year to create a “sustainable” plan for the 110th Street and Interstate 70 area.

The Mid-America Regional Council is accepting planning and implementations projects in the metro for the Planning Sustainable Places Program, which is federally funded. The maximum grant a project can apply for is $150,000, with a minimum requirement that the city match 20 percent of the funds, which must be spent by Jan. 1, 2014.

The estimated total cost to create a plan is $60,000, meaning the city would cover $15,000.

Edwardsville wants to pursue funding for a detailed plan to help make way for development for this northern area of the city, which the city has identified as a new front door for the community and an area for mixed-use development.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a resolution for a temporary moratorium on issuance of off-site advertising, signs/billboards.

• Approved an ordinance adopting the 2012 Standard Traffic Ordinance for Kansas cities. The council agreed to revisit adjusting the speed limit on 110th Street, which changes from 45 to 35 and then to 30 mph from the north to the south, pending the cost of a traffic study.

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