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City Adopts 2016-17 Budget
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
March 29, 2016

Chillicothe City Council members approved the city's 2016-17 budget following a public hearing during their regular 
meeting Monday evening at City Hall. The city's new fiscal year begins Friday, April 1. City Administrator Ike Holland conducted the public hearing and stated that the financial plan calls for estimated revenues of $13,257,974, and expenses of $13,290,923. The budget includes $181,261 in upgrades to equipment, including: a new 911 system ($45,360), the ramp repair at the airport, improvements in the parks department, officer vests for the police department, two radar units, fencing at the parks, a new pickup truck for the parks department, a new patrol car for the police department, two green rollers at the golf course ($25,000). These expenditures will be funded through revenues collected through the sale of property. No one from the public made comments during the public hearing, and the council voted unanimously to adopt the budget. The ordinance adopting the city budget also includes the adoption of the Chillicothe Municipal Utilities budget.

Administrator Holland also presented ordinances authorizing the execution of the following service contracts. The council approved the following contracts: Grand River Area Family YMCA ($13,000), Humane Society ($72,304), Freedom Festival ($4,000), University of Missouri Extension Center ($5,000), Chillicothe Arts Council ($2,000), Chamber of Commerce ($5,300), Main Street Chillicothe ($30,000), Rumery and Associates ($36,000, equally divided among Farmers Electric Cooperative, Chillicothe Development Corporation, Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, and the city of Chillicothe), Greater Chillicothe Visitors Region (hotel/motel tax), OATS, Inc., ($10,000).

Prior to the public hearing concerning the city's budget, City Auditor Theresa Kelly presented an ordinance amending the 2015-16 budget to reflect increases of expenditures over what was budgeted. These areas included $500,000 for land acquisition at the municipal airport, utilizing a state block grant; a $10,000 increase in the street fund due to increased engineering fees; $10,000 in the railroad fund due to engineering costs not budgeted for work on demolition of a railroad bridge; $60,000 in the golf course fund due to property maintenance (done by offenders), merchandise, signage, concessions and irrigation repair; an increase of $6,000 in the facility enhancement fund for engineering costs associated with repairs to the police department building; and other expenses. The parks department fund was increased by $45,000 because the city had purchased park vehicles through funds generated through the sale of property. Auditor Kelly noted that the police department was below its budget because the department was short an employee for awhile during the year. Kelly also noted that the U.S. 65 T.I.F. fund was increased by $115,000, reflecting a benefit to the  city. "Our sales taxes have come in much better in that area," Kelly told the council members. "Plus, we were given some property taxes last year that the county had not transferred over. Once we received it, I sent it to the T.I.F. to make the bond payment. That, along with the increased sales tax, is the reason for the big increase."

$746,900 Slated for CMU Capital Improvements
March 28, 2016

The Chillicothe Board of Public Works approved the budget for Chillicothe Municipal Utilities for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The budget includes CMU's electric, water, wastewater and refuse departments and projects operating revenues and other income of approximately $15.3 million, based on average growth in all departments. Operating expenses are projected to total $15 million, which includes a 2 percent cost of living increase for CMU's employees. Overall, the budget for all four departments is financially sound with rate increases approved in the water and refuse departments for the upcoming fiscal year, according to CMU General Manager Jim Gillilan. The budget calls for $746,900 in capital expenditure items, which include the following:

  • ELECTRIC Several electric upgrade projects that will greatly improve the reliability of the city's  electric system;
  • WATER Projects in the water department: Main replacements on Hillside Drive, from Sunset to Bryan; and McNally Street, from Bryan to Polk. CMU will be replacing its third high-service pump at the water pant. The pump replacement will complete the upgrade and increase its output from 4.3 million gallons per day to 5.5 million gallons per day.
  • WASTEWATER Projects in the wastewater department include spending $65,000 on manhole rehabilitation, replacing a 2007 pickup, and a 1997 UTV.
  • No major capital improvements are planned for the refuse department.

City in Midst of Budget Process
January 28, 2016

The city of Chillicothe is in the process of generating its 2016-17 budget which is to take effect April 1. The budget process is one that typically begins in summer and continues until city council members sign off on the document in late March, according to City Administrator Ike Holland. Holland was the guest speaker of the quarterly Mayor's Coffee Wednesday morning, hosted at North Missouri Center for Youth and Families. The city's department managers along with a few members of the public attended.

Holland stated that a lot of cities are not in as excellent financial shape as the city of Chillicothe and that unlike most big organizations, local governments, including as Chillicothe, are accountable for every dollar it spends. The city's annual budget is approximately $13 million and the city's police and fire departments are the city's No. 1 services, Holland stated. The city has approximately $7 million in cash assets (including some restricted use funds), which exceeds the required amount for Chillicothe's budget, according to the administrator. He said that the city's responsibility was not to hoard money, but to use it wisely. He said that the city is conservative with its investments.

The administrator said that the city begins the budget process with a zero balance. "Each department head goes through their budget and makes recommendations for equipment and training," Holland stated. Inventories are conducted regularly to identify vehicles and equipment that may need replacement, and consideration is given for the purchase of new equipment that would be more efficient than existing equipment and, therefore, produce overall savings. Holland stated that during the budget process, he does a basic analysis of each department with the department's manager. The budget is a line item budget and an analysis of the last four years is used to help determine the upcoming budget. The city's budget must be balanced, meaning that expenditures do not exceed available funds. The administrator noted that the city is in a position that it cannot automatically increase revenues, and although revenues may remain stagnant, the cost of materials goes up. He noted that if emergencies arise, the council may need to amend the budget.

Among items to be included in the 2016-17 budget is a playground upgrade and walking trail improvements at Simpson and Danner parks, complete demolition of the former Chillicothe Correctional Center and leveling of the site, and the addition of a walking/biking trail from the former Wabash depot in the central part of town, to the old prison site to the west and to Brunswick Street to the east. The new budget year will also include an increase in spending for streets as the newly-implemented use tax will be collected. This year's projects will soon go out for bid; and it is hoped that work can begin in May. Holland also noted that after 15 years of being in the works, all the land necessary for the runway expansion project at Chillicothe Municipal Airport has been secured. He stated that more federal mandates are being handed down to increase security at municipal airports.

In addition to the city budget, the city council will also consider the city-owned Chillicothe Municipal Utilities' budget. That budget is expected to be approved in early March.

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