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Shawnee City Commission: Public hearing for FY 2020-21 budget yields no response

Vicky O. Misa
Shawnee Finance Director Ashley Neel at Monday's public hearing regarding next year's proposed budget.

The Shawnee City Commission held a public hearing Monday for the more than $72 million proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21.

City Finance Director Ashley Neel outlined details of the proposal, figuring in a conservative estimate of 12 percent below what is typically expected each year for each of the funds; the decrease is to help offset the months of lower revenue during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“We also limited total budgetary increase to less than 2 percent year-on-year,” she said. “This budget cleans up the community and increases the demolition budget by 50 percent and more than doubles the nuisance remediation budget.”

It also finally invests in employees, she said.

“We were able to continue merit increases, as well as hiring of four key personnel, including an IT Director and two more police officers,” Neel said. “It also provides for incentive pay as employees gain more skills.”

Neel noted with the General Fund and the SMA Fund, the city is not having to use any beginning balance to balance this budget.

General Fund

“The total revenue estimated is $23,185,766,” Neel said. “Total estimated expenditures are $23,160.251.”

The departments making up most of the general fund are public safety, police patrol ($5.6 million), fire suppression ($4.9 million), CID ($1.2 million), then streets ($835,000), parks ($744,000) and planning ($725,000), among others.

Shawnee Municipal Authority

“In regard to total revenue we are sitting at $20,216,871,” she said. “Total expenditures come to $20,215,636.”

As far as departmental expenditures, the largest is utility administration, at $6 million; the reason that comes in so large is that the city currently has an engineering contract with the wastewater treatment plant that bumped that up, she said.

“That's followed by transfers, water distribution and debt service,” she said.

The budget sees the completion of the AMI Project, Neel said, and starts the process of rebuilding the water treatment and wastewater treatment plants.

Capital Improvement Fund

“Total revenue expected is $2,266,227,” she said. “Total estimated expenditures are $2,142,717.”

She said there are several things the city will be able to do this year, like funding additional ballistic vests and protective equipment for the police department, as well as props for the fire department.

“We will be able to increase security at our parks and our lakes,” Neel said, “and installing cameras that can be mobile so they also can be used by other departments.”

She said the budget also covers some major replacement of some play equipment.

“Finally, the budget does include a 5 percent contingency, so if there is an emergency, the city would be in a place where it could address that,” Neel said.

Street Improvement Fund

“The estimated total revenue is $2,464,820,” she said. “Total expenditures come to $4,747,673.”

She said the city will have to use some of the beginning balance, but the estimated beginning balance at this time comes to about $4.3 million.

“So we have plenty to cover the overage,” she said.

Neel said highlights of the fund include the completion of the MacArthur sidewalk project; it funds the remainder of the Kickapoo expansion project for Phase Two, going south; and provides for continued street maintenance.

2018 Capital Improvement Fund

The revenue source for this fund is the half-cent sales tax that was passed in June 2018.

“We are estimating total revenue of $2,888,938,” Neel said. “Total expenditures come to $8,929,333.”

Some projects will be:

• Marked in the budget are funds to begin the process of improving 45th Street;

• Funds to complete the new police headquarters;

• Continue upgrading Woodland and KidSpace Parks; and

• Is set to fund new roofs for several city facilities, including the Santa Fe Depot

After Neel finished her presentation, commissioners praised her for the level of detail, explanation and thoroughness of her report.

Mayor Richard Finley then opened the floor to hear from residents in favor of or opposing the proposed budget for next year.

No one came forward to speak regarding the item, so the meeting was adjourned.

The budget is set to go before City Commissioners at their regular meeting next week for action.

The 6 p.m. meeting will take place Monday in the Bertha Ann Young City Commission Chambers at City Hall, at 16 W. 9th St.