City council members got their first look at the 2009 budget during Monday night's council meeting. This year's spending plan is very conservative with few capital outlays proposed.
The budget, which was prepared by Finance Officer Darelyn Cooper, projects revenues of $3,421,533 and expenditures of $3,612,542. The revenue total is based on a projected 1 percent increase in the city's one-cent general sales tax and one-half cent parks and stormwater sales tax.
The $191,009 difference between revenues and expenditures will come out of the city's UDAG funds. This amount covers the salaries of the economic development director and deputy director as well as cost of the proposed master plan.
The 2009 budget also includes $150,000 to replenish general revenue funds, which were borrowed to complete this year's First Street improvement project.
The budget presented to city aldermen on Monday night included a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase and a 1 percent merit increase for city employees. No new employees were included in this year's budget.
Alderman Pete Landstad questioned the fact that the city would increase salaries by 3.5 percent when revenues were only predicted to increase by 1 percent.
"At some point, we're going to have to hold the line on salary increases," said Landstad. "I don't want to be a scrooge but we need to look at this. I wouldn't go with more than a 1 percent salary increase across the board.
"There are times when you have to tighten your belt and go six to nine months without a salary increase and revisit it," Landstad added.
City Administrator Mike Hayslip reminded the council that the budget was still in the preliminary stages. Aldermen were asked to submit any budget change requests by the next council meeting for further discussion. The final budget will not be approved until the Dec. 16 council meeting.
Few capital projects are included in the 2009 budget. Some of the larger dollar items that are part of the new budget include: $58,000 for the city's portion of a new bridge on Partridge Drive; $35,000 for an aeronautical study at the airport; $18,000 for a new pool fence; $13,500 for a plow, salt thrower and calcium tank; $23,000 for a new police car; and $20,000 for awnings at City Hall.
"For 2009, there are no major projects planned," said Hayslip. "The First Street project was a big one for us to do. We need to put money back before we think about doing another big project."
Despite an up-and-down year, Cooper is predicting the city will end 2008 with a 2 to 3 percent increase in sales tax revenue, which is what the city budgeted for last year. Even though the city met its projections this year, officials are preparing for a flat year in 2009.
"To be fiscally responsible, this is the stance we need to take," said Hayslip.
In other business, the council:
* Re-appointed Mike Schlichtman and Joe Cavness to serve on the Airport Board, Dan Philbrick and Merle Rogers to serve on the Park Board and Bill Shiveley to serve on the Board of Adjustments.
* Voted to pay the monthly electricity bill for lighting the Cassville Industrial Park sign on Highway 37.
* Heard that the credit card readers was now on-line at the Cassville Municipal Airport. No more cash fuel sales will be accepted.
* Paid bills that totalled $80,972.36.