Balanced $4.4 million Owensville budget includes funds to increase salaries, additional I&I work

Dave Marner
Managing Editor

Owensville aldermen on Monday unanimously approved a balanced $4.4 million operating budget for the city’s 2019-20 fiscal year which begins July 1.

City Clerk Bobbi Limberg opened the brief public hearing noting this year’s budget will not show any anticipated surplus funds. Rather, she said, the document will reflect $8,889 in funding being allocated across five different funds for line-item spending.

“This shows a balanced budget,” Limberg told the board. “You can show a surplus but not a deficit. Most cities show a balanced budget.”

She said this differs from previous budgets which reflected anticipated surplus balances. Balancing out each account was acceptable to their auditor, she told them.

“I think we’re good,” said Ward 2 Alderman Rob Borgmann, president of the board.

Mayor John Kamler thanked Limberg and Deputy Clerk Peggy Farrell for their assistance in developing the budget without a city administrator on staff since earlier this year.

“It’s been a long slog,” said Kamler. “I think we’re being as conservative as possible.”

He also thanked members of the Owensville Park Board and Jeff Kuhne and his public works staff for their input on the budget.

“I appreciate everyone’s hard work on that,” he said to close out the public hearing.

Anticipated revenues in all accounts are listed as $4,435,451 for the fiscal year which will end June 30, 2020. Anticipated expenditures are listed as $4,435,451.

This year’s spending plan includes a carry-over balance of $220,000 in the Water and Sewer Department which went unspent on I&I (inflow and infiltration) remediation during the current fiscal year. Those funds will be used in the next round of work which will be bid out this summer.  The city has also budgeted an additional $256,000 in new money for fiscal 2019-20 to fund up to $476,000 in repair work to the city’s sewer system including the carry-over balance

The Parks Department budget will also carry over $30,000 in unspent funds from this past year which will be used along with $30,000 in reserve funds for a new bathroom off of Parker Drive along the Memorial Park walking trail. An additional $60,000 in reserve funds was also designated to be divided between the pool and golf funds to help balance out those funds, according to Limberg.

Neither is balanced but the park system’s overall budget of $604,600 is balanced.

Anticipated revenue for the Park fund is $344,750 with expenditures of $245,280. 

Anticipated Pool fund revenue is listed at $176,400 with anticipated expenditures of $263,500. Included in that figure is $39,000 from the city’s capital improvement fund for caulking and repainting of the pool, Farrell reminded the board.

In the Golf fund, anticipated revenue is listed at $83,450 with anticipated expenditures of $95,820.

Anticipated revenue for park operations overall from the new designated and voter-approved half-cent sales tax is listed at $305,000. The city will no longer collect a tax levy for park operations from residents based on their personal property and real estate assessments.

The new budget also includes $15,000 for engineering services as the city plans for building a new police station beside the fire station on West Franklin Avenue.

This year’s budget includes $60,748 in new funding designated for salary increases across all city departments based on recommendations from the Austin Peters Group which conducted a study for the city. Aldermen are expected to finalize the new pay scale and step plan when they convene again on June 17. Limberg said a resolution adopting the pay scale and step scale would be presented then.

“We’re working on that to pass that on the 17th,” she told aldermen. “We’re moving toward that.”

The General fund lists balanced revenue and expenditure estimates at $1,579,851.

By category, the city expects to spend $605,720 from the administrative fund, $18,800 on elected officials, $20,000 for emergency management, $734,511 for police department operations, and $200,000 for operating the volunteer fire department.

The Water and Sewer Department’s budget shows income and expenditures balanced out at $1,762,500.

The Street Department’s balanced budget shows $488,500 of revenue anticipated with equal expenses. Included in that account was $4,000 in additional funding for engineering services and $493 for supplies and materials which was added on to avoid having a surplus line item.

The Water and Sewer fund included $350 for supplies and materials to eliminate that surplus line item.

The Police fund shows $1,600 added to the LAGERS retirement line item rather than carrying a surplus line item. An additional $2,370 worth of engineering services was placed in the General fund rather than show a surplus and $74 was added to the Pool fund for supplies for the same reason.

Aldermen approved the budget on a 4-0 roll call vote through adoption of Ordinance No. 1290.