Tuesday, December 4th, 2018
St. Marys officials trim city budget
By Ed Gebert
ST. MARYS - City officials have trimmed $1.2 million from the proposed $70 million 2019 city budget.
Safety service director Greg Foxhoven on Monday recommended the budget cuts to finance committee members.
"We made nine reductions because we just felt that the numbers were too high, and city auditor Doug Riesen is still in the process of determining what the projected revenue will be," he said.
Some items placed on the chopping block include $350,000 from the miscellaneous street repair funds.
"None of our streets besides Cheshire Drive are in really that bad of shape," Foxhoven said when explaining the reason for the cut.
Also slashed was $205,000 for an electronic sign that would have been used to promote city businesses and community events.
The $325,000 land purchase from Parker Hannifin Corp. was removed because the purchase should be finalized before the end of this year. Part of the land will be used to construct a connecting road between McKinley Road and County Road 33A. A portion will be sold to Setex for the company's planned expansion.
Officials cut the cost of the proposed splash pad from $300,000 to $250,000. Foxhoven said this was a more accurate estimate. The pad is planned for construction near the High Street Shelter House. The city has secured a state grant covering $100,000 of the expense if construction begins in 2020.
"We know that the splash pad will reduce our attendance at the pool, but we still think it's something we should do," Foxhoven said.
Also cut was an SUV for the engineering department at $30,000, a requested replacement Ford Explorer for the police department at $45,000 and rubber replacement in the railroad crossings on Wayne Street at $150,000. Work for rear yard storm drainage for a residential subdivision was reduced from $50,000 to $25,000.
The planned pool bathhouse replacement of $400,000 was moved from the voted 0.5 percent income tax fund to the general capital improvement fund, which Foxhoven noted could better handle the expense. He said the project could still be cut from the 2019 budget if revenue projections require it.
"We don't absolutely have to build this next year," he said.
The budget figures are fluid at this stage, Foxhoven noted. More changes may be made as councilors go through the budget ordinance in detail during the three reading process. The number of cuts will be determined by the amount of revenue projected by Riesen and his comfort with the financial situation in each city funds.
The ordinance will be presented for first reading at council's next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers.