Smithville Aldermen Adopts No New Taxes Budget

June 1, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday night adopted the new 2007-2008 budget on first reading.

The new budget totals $6-million 686-thousand 188 dollars. Under the new spending plan, the property tax rate will remain the same at 68 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The new budget calls for the water and sewer rates to remain the same. City water customers will continue to pay $3.50 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $3.50 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Rates for customers outside the city limits are 50% higher. The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District is $1.75 per thousand gallons but will increase to $1.80 for January 1st, 2008 sales.

City sewer customers, under the new budget, will continue to pay the flat usage rate of $3.62 plus $3.25 per thousand gallons thereafter.

Water tap fees for customers inside the city limits is $400 for a three quarter inch water line and the sewer tap fee is $400 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, the fees are cost plus 10%. For customers outside the city limits, water tap fees are $525 for a three quarter inch line and $525 for a four inch sewer line. Again, if the lines are larger, then the fees are cost plus 10%.

The proposed budget calls for city employees with up to four years of service to get their automatic step pay increases as defined in the wage scale plus a 2.7% cost of living increase. City employees with more than four years of service, who have topped out on the wage scale will only get the 2.7% cost of living increase with two exceptions, City Recorder Burnace Vandegriff who is budgeted to receive an increase of about $3,800 making his salary $52,000 a year and Police Chief Tom Stufano, who is budgeted to get about a $7,100 pay raise making his total salary $45,011.

When the fiscal year started July 1, 2006, the general fund was projected to be $714,655 in the red by June 30, 2007, but by eliminating unnecessary spending during the year, city officials say the General Fund will have a surplus of $136,040 by June 30th, 2007.

The General Fund would actually show a surplus of $486,040 by the end of the month, however the cost of operating the city's sanitation system came to $350,000 this year. Since the city has no garbage collection fee for customers, the general fund must absorb the cost.

City officials are projecting that the general fund will show a deficit of $1,010,863 by June 30, 2008 unless spending can be held in check again during the year. If not, then the city may have to use more of the money from the surplus to balance the budget. The major spending projects include a proposed expansion of the fire hall and upgrades at the airport.

The water and sewer fund, at the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1, 2006, was expected to finish with a deficit of $67,594 by June 30, 2007. The projection now is for the fund to show a surplus of $ 1,771,103. However, the water and sewer fund is expected to finish the new budget year on June 30, 2008 with a deficit of $193,275 unless spending can be controlled.

Proposed capital outlay expenditures in the general fund for the new year come to $1,950,000. Specific projects are as follows: Financial Administration- $7,500 including $5,000 for a computer upgrade and $2,500 unspecified; Parks and Recreation- $15,000 unspecified; Public Works/Buildings and Grounds- $15,000 unspecified; City Hall Building Alteration per ADA- $8,500 including $5,000 for handicapped rehabilitation and $3,500 unspecified; Fire Protection- $900,000 for a proposed expansion of the fire hall; Street Department- $40,000 including $10,000 for downtown beautification and $30,000 unspecified; Police Department- $39,000 including $25,000 for a police car and $14,000 unspecified; Swimming Pool- $10,000 for capital repairs; Airport- $910,000 unspecified; Animal Shelter- $5,000 unspecified; Sanitation Fund- $5,000 and Drug Fund- $5,000 unspecified.

Proposed water and sewer fund capital outlay expenditures include $40,000 for an update of sewer plant equipment, $50,000 for an update of the water plant and engineering fees, and $20,000 for a sewer rehabilitation camera. Debt repayment-principal: bonds- $205,000

Although these capital outlay projects are budgeted, they all may not be funded during the year.

Second and final reading action will follow a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, June 18 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

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