Proposed city budget vote coming as new fiscal year approaches

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
A pie chart shows the breakdown of expenditures in the potential Shawnee budget for 2021-22. A vote is coming up regarding the proposal.

The city's next fiscal year is coming up fast; in less than two weeks Shawnee will be operating under its new budget, which has not yet been voted on.

Last week Assistant City Manager Ashley Neel walked Shawnee City Commissioners through a presentation outlining the current budget proposal and a hearing was held for resident input.

She prefaced the speech by reminding attendees that sales tax continues to be the city's main revenue source. Based on historical data, current contracts and current conditions, she said the new budget proposal's main operating fund — the General Fund — is $23,633,022, reflecting a 2-percent increase in sales tax from last year's base budget.

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“Expenditure-wise, we are looking at $23.6 million,” she said. “That is based off of historical data, departmental meeting and current purchasing conditions.”

Expenditures are broken down as follows:

• Police department — $8,557,838 (36.2 percent)

• Fire department — $5,886,121 (24.9 percent)

• Culture and recreation — $1,638,196 (6.9 percent)

• Public Works — $1,497,987 (6.3 percent)

• Internal services — $1,130,836 (4.8 percent)

• Planning and code enforcement — $874,185 (4.1 percent)

• Administration — $901,672 (3.8 percent)

• Transfers out — $734,362 (3.1 percent)

• More (six grouped items) — $2,302,760 (9.7 percent)

The budget reflects investments in technology and employees, and cleans up and prepares the community.

The proposal's funding would implement CityWorks, a web GIS-centric enterprise asset and workflow management system.

This is something that any of our departments that have employees out on the field or manage equipment will be able to use and allow us to know when our assets are needing repair, etc., she said.

“This also include funding for kiosks, which will provide citizens another way to pay fines, fees, any sort of utility bills, stuff like that,” she said.

The city also is looking at ways to clean up the community, she said, and with the proposal would increase the demolition budget to $275,000, as well as refurbishing salt spreaders in preparation for big weather events.

The budget would also provide funds to hire an Aquatic and Activities manager to increase realization of the potential city parks and facilities offer.

“This person would be responsible for programming not only at the pool, but also at all of our other facilities, as well,” she said.

“We also increased our training budget in total by 25 percent over Fiscal Year 2019,” Neel said.

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Shawnee Municipal Authority

Total revenue is approximately $18.8 million — same for expenditures, she said.

“The largest department is utility administration,” Neel said. She noted the bulk of that is not being spent on personnel — it is largely on the Central Disposal contract, among other things.

Expenditure breakdown is as follows:

• Utility administration — $5,812,762 (30.8 percent)

• Transfers out — $4,560,000 (24.2 percent)

• Debt service — $2,467,790 (13.1 percent)

• Water production — $1,552,705 (8.2 percent)

• Sewer collection — $1,254,624 (6.6 percent)

• Water distribution — $902,822 (4.8 percent)

• South Sewer Treatment Plant — $725,284 (3.8 percent)

• Utility billing — $724,668 (3.8 percent)

• North Sewer Treatment Plant — $552,717 (2.9 percent)

• Lake operations — $320,200 (1.7 percent)

The proposed funds continue the process of rebuilding the water treatment and wastewater treatment plants.

“We are also providing for dam repairs at the lake,” she said.

Neel said a current focus is on investing in places to play.

“There are several things we need to add,” she said. “We are looking at way-finding signage at the lake, a restroom at Isaac Walton and a security system.”

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Capital improvement Fund

Total revenue comes in at $2.7 million, with expenditures marked at $2.6 million.

These funds would provide for the purchase of three police vehicles; fund a lease program to replace several larger pieces of old equipment; dedicate $100,000 for expo repairs; provide replacement of bunker gear, hose, and other needed equipment for the fire department; ans include a $70,000 contingency for emergencies.

Street Improvement Fund

Total revenue comes in at $4,152,398, with expenditures marked at $4,179,417.

Fund 302 highlights include funding the Avedis Foundation sidewalk project, which includes the three current projects at Highland, Independence and Kickapoo; it will also fund the remainder of the Kickapoo (South) expansion project. The funding also will provide for continued street maintenance and the completion of the Leo Street Industrial Access Project.

2018 Capital Improvement Fund Budget

Total revenue comes in at $3,116,883, with expenditures marked at $24,977,281.

This funding provides $2.5 million in panel replacements for the improvement of city streets; completion of the Shawnee Police Department headquarters; continues work on upgrading Woodland Veterans Park and KidSpace Park, as well as funding the rehabilitation of the Whittaker Street project.

Budget hearing

Last Monday evening, June 14, Shawnee City Commissioners gathered for a hearing so residents could raise questions, concerns, kudos and/or comments about the proposed 2021-22 city budget.

The meeting was informational only — no decisions or approval were made at that time.

The proposal's hearing was quick and quiet, as only city staff and a couple residents were in attendance. No opposition was offered by anyone, and resident Michael Savage was the only one to come forward to speak, inquiring if certain items, like funding for the police department headquarters, roads and parks — among others — were included in the proposal, which they are.

Board vote

Since July 1 begins the city's 2021-22 fiscal year, a vote on the proposed budget is likely to be on the agenda for the next City Commission meeting, which is 6 p.m. Monday in the Bertha Ann Young City Commission Chambers at City Hall, at 16 W. 9th St. If it is not included, a special call meeting may become necessary.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.