Archive for Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bonner Springs looks to increase employee wages with 2016 surplus

June 24, 2015

The Bonner Springs City Council next month likely will be considering how to use some excess funds in its 2016 budget.

In a budget workshop meeting June 2, city staff revealed what they believe will be a slight surplus in 2016, though they are using conservative estimates for items such as sales tax revenues and the city’s portion of casino revenues. The council reviewed potentially using most of the funding for employee pay increases and new records management software for the police department and municipal court.

Tillie LaPlante, finance director, told the council there should be $339,828 available in the general fund for additional uses due to higher-than-expected sales tax revenues and some other unused funds from this year, such as $49,949 that is expected to remain the debt service fund at the end of the year. LaPlante said the city also has been able to collect some delinquent property taxes and has had less delinquency on current taxes than expected.

LaPlante said the city should have $814,527 available for 2016 street repairs, compared to the $715,000 budgeted for streets this year, but staff recommended using the extra $99,527 for other projects. The council reviewed a list of 33 streets identified as needing repair, including the top 16 streets as identified by staff that could be funded in 2016.

The police department is requesting $291,500 in funding to purchase a new records management system that also is used by the Kansas City Kansas Police Department, as its current software is outdated and incompatible with neighboring agencies. Most of the funding will come from funds set aside for the purchase of the police department administrative building, which cost just $120,000 rather than the budgeted $240,000 last year.

The fire department additionally has planned to delay purchasing a new pumper truck, leaving $120,000 available in the Emergency Services fund. By reallocating some other unused funds, the police department will only need an additional $31,000 for the records management system.

City Manager John “Jack” Helin discussed using additional funds to adjust employee pay rates, which are 9.1 percent behind the market according to a recently completed compensation study. He recommended adjusting the pay rate to meet the market for all employees for a total of $152,000, plus $6,500 for four employees whose salaries were behind the market rate by more than 15 percent.

Helin also recommended merit pay increases and additional health insurance funding for employees.

The council reached a consensus of support for all employee pay increases.

Additionally at the workshop, city staff told the council that the 10-year library sales tax will expire Dec. 31, 2016. The city will receive an estimated $450,000 in revenues from the tax in 2016 after the bonds used to fund the construction of the library are paid off, and another $75,000 in 2017. The council will have to determine if it will ask voters to for an extension of the tax.

The council will have additional special meetings, with more current tax revenue numbers, to review and finalize the budget on July 14 and 20, with a budget review work session prior to its July 27 council meeting, during which it will set a public hearing for the 2016 budget on Aug. 10.

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