City Council approves operating budget

City Council members voted Tuesday to approve the $21.9 million budget for the 2018 fiscal year.
It’s the first time in seven years the City of Mustang expects to have a balanced budget.
The $21.9 million budget projects a $2 million ending fund balance.
The budget also projects a .5 percent increase in sales tax revenue, which City Manager Tim Rooney said is a conservative projection because the City of Mustang has experienced a 1.9 percent increase in sales tax collections this year.
Some of the expenditure changes in the newly-approved budget include both a new police officer and firefighter being hired, which are funded by the fourth penny sales tax extension; a recommended transfer to Risk Management Fund from $100,000 to $125,000, which Rooney said goes up by $25,000 every year; a 3 percent merit increase for all city employees; a job reclassification for the city attorney, and a premium rate increase of 7.4 percent in costs associated with employee health care.
The total health insurance cost increase is $63,430. The city isn’t passing this increase onto city employees, Rooney said.
The budget includes multiple capital outlay projects, with total spending at $870,813. Those projects include:
City Management— a camera system for City Hall and a voting system for Council chambers.
Library— conference chairs for the meeting table.
Parks and Recreation— painting of the gazebo, recreation management software integration and set up, 12-passenger ADA compliant van for senior citizens (with a 15 percent matching grant), park cameras, trail replacement and rock border around Elliott Park pond, park sidewalks and pathways, outdoor lit Christmas tree, permanent public address system for Town Center, and audio and visual equipment.
Town Center— new carpet in hallway, meeting room and offices; painting; HVAC replacement of units; replace foyer lighting in Town Center; new equipment and repairs to basketball goal, and dining room window tinting for Senior Center.
Ball Complex— outdoor sound system for baseball and softball complexes, electronic menu boards for baseball and softball, utility cart, dug out covers for softball complex.
Police— new vehicles, prior year leases for vehicles, patrol rifles, replace back-up system batteries, access control and security system upgrades, bullet-resistant glass in records lobby, squad room remodel, parking lot light replacement, change light switches to motion senor switches, and replace carpet in administration and detective area.
Fire— training room remodel, carpet replacement and a mechanical hose roller.
Street Division— asphalt roller, asphalt paver, building for Street Department, entry signs for City limits, wayfinding signs.
Water Division— resolution 05-027 infrastructure- flow and regular water meters.
Before voting to approve the budget, Tuesday’s Council meeting consisted of a public hearing for residents to speak to the Council about questions, concerns or suggestions for the budget.
The visitors who did speak at the meeting, mainly focused on concerns about removal of storm damage, drainage and debris from the city and why those things are not included in the budget.
One resident expressed concern about not having money allocated in the budget for a storm clean up date. He chose to come speak at the Council meeting after finding out the city didn’t have the money for the cleanup from Assistant City Manager Justin Battles.
“In prior years when we’ve done that, there was a declaration of a disaster by both the governor and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and we were able to give FEMA assistance in doing those cleanups in the past,” Mayor Jay Adams responded. “In this particular one, there was no declaration of a disaster. There was a declaration of an emergency by the governor, but because there wasn’t a declaration of disaster that means the city wasn’t eligible to get any kind of FEMA assistance to do the cleanup, and that is what Mr. Battles was referring to. Without the assistance, we really don’t have room in our budget to have additional cleanup and stuff like that.”
“I understood that when [Battles] explained it to me, but it would be nice to see that in the budget,” the resident answered.
“I agree,” Adams said. “There are a lot of critical things that have to be dealt with and we will take that under advisement for our next Council meeting.”
Another resident suggested the city offering free dumping at the city dump site for those affected by storms, and Adams and Rooney responded by letting the resident know they did offer free dumping for three weeks after the storm.
From that comment, others residents said some had no way of getting the debris to the dump, while others said people may not have known about it.
Adams said there were volunteers, including himself and Travis Mackenzie who was recognized at the Council meeting for his help with storm cleanup, who were taking debris to the dump for those who couldn’t do it themselves.
Rooney said it was posted on the city’s website, cityofmustang.org, and was told to any residents who called.
“Unfortunately maybe it can’t get to everybody, but there’s a lot of people out there willing to help and willing to try,” Adams said.
The dump was open for three weeks after the storm for dumping debris, Adams said.
“Even after we closed it, we went back out with people who had debris in front of their homes that were notified and still given another free pass to the dump. I think we went above and beyond what we could do, as much as we could do, because we still incur a cost to get rid of everything that’s over there. That burning started, I believe, yesterday of that debris with a burn curtain, which is EPA approved,” Rooney said. “There is still a cost and I believe we incurred about as much as we could.”
Councilman Brian Grider mentioned that when FEMA matched funds a few years ago for storm damage cleanup, it cost the city $1.7 million, so looking at a $22 million budget to try to build another $2 million into the budget, it would be a 10 percent increase for one or two storms.
A resident then asked if anyone within the city has ever looked into the cost for buying the cleanup equipment for the city to do themselves.
“Typically when we budget, we don’t budget for a once-a-year or a once-every-several-years storm event. It’s not something you budget for. It’s like snow removal. We don’t buy a lot of snow plows because this year we wouldn’t have used them. You just try to do your best when you’re faced with an incident like that,” Rooney said.
Battles said the City of Mustang doesn’t have any public works employees and all public works are contracted so no equipment would need to be purchased by the city.
Battles added that the city will be spending more than $100,000 through the public works budget just by trying to get rid of the debris, so they’re hiring professionals and trying to get the job done.
Other residents brought up speeding, which the Council has already spoken about adding speed tables later on, and asked questions about and gave suggestions for recycling programs for storm debris.
No other topics were brought up about the budget, so Council members went forward with their vote to approve the budget.
To read more about the budget Council members approved, visit www.cityofmustang.org/cmo/page/fy-2017-18-budget-documents-and-information.

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