Smithville mayor and aldermen begin preparation of city budget for 2022-23

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April 24, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

Preparation of the City of Smithville’s budget has begun for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

The mayor and aldermen held their first budget workshop Thursday evening at City Hall where they and city department heads outlined initiatives needed or desired for the new budget year which begins July 1. , but no action has yet been taken on any of them.

Requests range from wage increases to a new garbage truck, fire truck, 4 police cars, the addition of a third paid firefighter, a new roof for the city hall building and renovations. playground and benches at Green Brook Park.

Although he was unable to attend the meeting, Public Works Director Kevin Robinson requested a new, smaller garbage truck for the sanitation department. The cost is estimated at $115,000. Mayor Josh Miller and City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson spoke on Robinson’s behalf.

“Kevin asks for a garbage truck. One that is much smaller (than others in the fleet). No Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required for this truck,” said Mayor Miller.

“One of the garbage trucks we have is a 1997 model and the other is a 2007 model. They are our two older ones. We are waiting for a newer one. He (Kevin) wants to get a smaller garbage truck to do city pickups. It wouldn’t affect residential city pickups, but would be more for businesses,” Hendrixson said.

Robinson is also asking the city to budget $15,000 for a tire changer and balancer.

Mayor Miller said the replacement of the City Hall roof and the renovation of the playground and benches in Green Brook Park are long overdue and must be funded in the new budget. Although the city must replace broken and splintered wood, a professional company could be hired to refurbish and stain the playground equipment.

General salary increases can also be budgeted for city employees. Mayor Miller is calling for an 11% cost-of-living wage increase to be funded to help with the cost of inflation. The mayor is also calling for the part-time airport manager job, held by Katelyn Sanders, to become full-time and for Smithville Municipal Pool and Pro Golf Shop Manager Jeania Cawthorn to receive a raise. of salary.

Janice Plemmons-Jackson, the city’s financial adviser, said an 11% overall wage increase for employees would add nearly $260,000 in new spending to the budget, which would lift wages for the 2022-23 year. to around $2,616,563 from $2,357,000 this year (2021-22).

Mayor Miller is asking that the salary of aldermen be increased from $50 to $100 per meeting (regular and special meetings) and that this salary include shop meetings.

Although the mayor did not request it, Alderman Danny Washer requested that the mayor’s salary be increased by $1,000 to perhaps $2,000 per month.

Mayor Miller further requests that the city set aside $10,000 for capital expenditures to help promote and support downtown events held throughout the year that draw people in and help local businesses.

Police Chief Mark Collins said he needs two new Dodge Charger patrol cars this year, but is asking for funding to be budgeted over the next two years to pay for four. Due to supply chain issues, Chef Collins said it made more sense to order them now due to the expected long delay in delivery.

“I would request two cars (this year) but I called Chrysler and there are no 2022 models available. If I order 2023 cars, I have to place an order in July and Dodge will not start producing vehicles. urgently before December with an expected delivery date of late May or early June 2023 I would rather order four cars now than two so that all four can arrive at the same time next summer We could use this year’s budget to pay two and next year’s budget to pay two,” said Chief Collins.

The cost of the new cars is $29,419 per vehicle plus $10,981 each to outfit them. The cars would replace the four 2014 Dodge Chargers the city bought used in Missouri a few years ago.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker is asking the city to fund a third fire station and plan to purchase a new rescue/fire engine truck to replace a 21-year-old engine.

The first paid firefighter position was created by the city in 2012, filled by Chief Parker and the second paid firefighter was added in 2020. Dalton Roberts fills this position.

Chief Parker said his long-term goal is for the city to one day have at least two paid firefighters on duty around the clock, but right now he’s only asking for one additional position. In addition to the two current paid positions, the city has 25 volunteers on the roster, but Chief Parker said volunteers aren’t always available when needed due to other jobs and commitments.

“We have a staff shortage during daylight hours and if there’s a fire call we can’t use him (Roberts) to his full potential if I’m out of town. He has to wait for someone else (volunteer) to arrive because we don’t allow him to make a fire call on his own for safety reasons. If I’m in town, I can go with him on a call. We have 25 people (volunteers) but during the day on weekdays we are extremely short and sometimes also on weekends,” said Chief Parker.

Mayor Miller said he favors adding a third paid firefighter position because the city’s population is growing, which will increase the likelihood of more fires.

“From July 31, 2021 to March 1, 2022, 65 new residence permits have been withdrawn in the city. I think if all goes well I hear people talking about construction on top of those already approved there could be up to 200 houses possibly built maybe not all next year but it will happen if the economy remains as it is. Just to see all these new homes and people coming in, I really think it’s not a bad idea (adding a third paid firefighter) and we really need to take a look at it,” Mayor Miller said.

Chief Parker is also asking that the 25 volunteer firefighters, who receive $25 per call, be given a budget increase of $10 to $35 per call starting in the new fiscal year. Parker further included increases for training, travel and uniform allowance expenses in his budget request.

According to Chief Parker, the time has come for the city to replace the department’s 2001 fire truck with a new one. The city also has a 2018 rescue pumper and a 2012 ladder truck in its fleet.

“I request the replacement of engine 2 which has reached its 21st birthday. When they (the fire trucks) reach 20 years of service, we can count them as a reserve unit until they are 25,” Chief Parker said.

“You’ve taken such good care of those fire trucks, I couldn’t go over there and tell you what the 2001 and 2018 model is,” said Mayor Miller, who apparently has reservations about buying a new one. a new fire truck. right now.

A new truck would be similar to but smaller than the department’s 2018 rescue pumper, according to Chief Parker, but it would be more expensive with a price tag of up to $975,000. Since delivery would take up to two years if ordered this year, Chief Parker suggested the city consider trying to put a price on a new truck if possible and make financial arrangements to pay for it. When the 2001 fire truck is replaced, Chief Parker said the city may sell it.

“My concern is that if a new fire truck is needed and we know we’re going to (buy) it and we can save two, three or four hundred thousand dollars because you’re doing it now versus two or three years ago From now on this is something to watch, especially if you can lock in the price with options,” Alderman Brandon Cox said.

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