Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bonner’s budget shortfall turns into surplus

July 18, 2012

Though at the beginning of the summer, the Bonner Springs City Council was finding ways to make up for an expected budget shortfall in 2013, it now is voting on how to spend a slight surplus.

In May, city officials thought they were facing a $280,000 shortfall for 2013, and the council decided to use a portion of its revenues from the Hollywood Casino to cover about $271,000 of that. But in the last two weeks, the council learned about some budget changes that created a slight surplus.

Tillie LaPlant, finance director, said several items contributed to the surplus:

• A $61,000 retirement and codification cost the city is paying in 2012 that would not be needed in 2013.

• A $10,000 expected increase in motor vehicle taxes.

• An $8,600 increase in industrial revenue bond revenues.

• A $15,500 increase in transfers from utility and special revenue funds.

• And a $13,800 reduction in Neighborhood Revitalization Plan rebates, as fewer residents remain in the program.

With $108,900 in additional funds now available, the city planned to use $8,680 to cover the last of the previously expected shortfall and maintain the city’s current property tax rate. It then could use $10,305 to make up for shortfalls in the library’s budget, and $29,000 to increase the city’s contingency funds back to a level of 5 percent.

That left $52,606 for which the council had to designate a use, and city staff suggested it be used for street projects, a property tax reduction or further employee salary increases. At its budget retreat Monday, the council supported using the funds for street projects.

The city is conservatively estimating $40,000 in casino revenues each month. In May, the council decided to use much of the 2012 casino revenues for smaller capital improvements and half of the 2013 revenues for the expected budget shortfall, but it still had to designate a use for the other half of the 2013 casino revenues.

The council Monday decided those funds would be used to purchase a new dump truck with a sand attachment for $110,000. It also would cover the city’s portion of costs for a new Tiblow Transit van at $12,600, and $75,400 would be put toward streets.

The council had previously decided to use $44,800 of its 2012 casino revenues for computer replacements, and the remaining $42,000 in 2013 revenues will finish out the necessary computer purchases.

The council Monday also supported an increase in water and sewer rates to do repairs and maintenance on the city’s storm drain system.

The rates have been increased from 2 to 10 percent over the last several years. The 2013 increase is suggested at 5 percent for both water and sewer. City staff said the average customer’s monthly bills would be $44.05 for water, a $2.10 increase, and $45 for sewer, a $2.14 increase.

The council will vote on setting a public hearing for the 2013 budget and amendments to the 2012 budget at its meeting Monday, July 23.

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