City budget planning workshops underway

Dave Marner

Owensville aldermen on Monday spent 90 minutes going over the first draft of the city’s 2018-19 fiscal year budget for public works services.

City Administrator Nathan Schauf guided the elected officials through a line-by-line review of proposed revenue and expenditures for the Water and Sewer account and Street funds.

“In short,” Schauf reminded aldermen early on, “this is not the final draft.”

Schauf’s presentation included a list of capital improvement projects, or major equipment purchases, planned for the coming year. Five items totalling $243,500 were listed which are proposed to be funded by the city’s two separate quarter-cent sales taxes which are designated for capital improvements.

Jeff Kuhne, the city’s public works director, has four of these projects in mind in the coming year. Another is the planned purchase of a new police patrol vehicle for $32,000 with a trade-in of a 2013 Dodge Charger.

Kuhne’s list includes power washing and repainting of the city’s No. 4 water tower in the north industrial park. The exterior was washed five years ago and Kuhne told aldermen the inspection then revealed the need for some spot priming and painting.

“It needs painting,” said Kuhne. “It’s definitely our worst one. A lot of it is just primer.”

Estimated cost projections for the work is $85,000.

Kuhne also pitched a plan to replace the city’s mid-1990s sewer jetter/auger trailer at a cost of $70,000.

“We’ve put a lot of money in it and it seems like every year when we get it out it has problems and it puts us behind schedule,” Kuhne told the aldermen.

He would like to trade in the unit while it has some value remaining.

Kuhne would also like aldermen to appropriate $30,000 to upgrade the city’s No. 4 and 5 water wells through a rewiring project. That would allow both wells to operate on generator backup power if case of a mass outage to the area’s electric grid.

The city’s No. 3 well was rewired. The No. 1 well is scheduled to be rewired during the current 2017-18 budget which ends June 30.

The street department’s 2005 Chevrolet utility truck is also scheduled to be replaced at an estimated cost of $26,500. It will be equipped with a snow plow but not a cinder spreader.

City Marshal Robert Rickerd was in attendance and explained the plan to trade in a 2013 Charger which has 105,000 miles on it and is no longer under warranty. He is budgeting to purchase a Ford Explorer.

“The thing is just nickle-and-diming us to death,” he said of repairs to the Charger.

He said he’s received a $3,500 quote for a trade-in from a dealer who sells police vehicles on the state bid. That money can be used to buy the extended warranty coverage. He expects to warranty the Explorer for seven years on a bumper-to-bumper plan to 125,000 miles.

“This gets us in the cycle where we wouldn’t need to budget for a new purchase for two budget years,” Rickerd told aldermen.

Aldermen also reviewed their long-term debt obligations on outstanding certificates of deposit (COP) for prior capital projects in water/sewer line improvements and water tower construction, and the and general obligation bond (GO) funding for street and Winter Water Park projects.

“I believe we’re in the huge minority of cities in the state, from what I know,” said Mayor John Kamler about the city’s manageable debt obligations. “We have few long-term debt obligations.”

Schauf reminded aldermen that monthly water and sewer receipts pay for the prior COP and designated revenue bond projects on extending water and sewer lines and building the western water tower.

Property taxes pay off the GO bond obligations, he reminded them. When a street bond from 2011 is paid off in June of 2010, payments on principal for the water park begin to increase.

This is also the final year for payments in a cost-share project with the Missouri Department of Transportation project to add the turn lane from Krausetown Road to Walmart’s upper entrance. The final payment will come out of the city’s 2017-18 fiscal year budget which ends June 30.

“(Ward 2 Alderman) Rob (Borgmann) and I have paid off millions since we’ve been on the board,” said Kamler.

Aldermen will conduct their regular monthly meeting on Monday, April 2, and are planning a second budget workshop on their regular second meeting date of the month for April. That workshop will begin at 6 p.m. April 16 and will be open to the public as aldermen will discuss budget plans for the general revenue accounts which include City Hall, police, elected officials and court operations.

The Owensville Park Board is planning for it’s 2018-19 fiscal year budget during a special workshop tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, April 5. Preliminary planning began Feb. 12 with an overview of revenue and spending projects presented by Schauf during the Park Board’s monthly meeting.

A location for the Park Board’s workshop was still being finalized and will be announced next week.