Archive for Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Baldwin City Council approves 2014 budget

Baldwin City Hall

Baldwin City Hall

August 6, 2013

No one spoke at the public hearing Monday before the Baldwin City Council approved the city’s 2014 budget, but the council nonetheless trimmed the $17.4 million budget to make it “revenue neutral.”

The council approved a 2014 budget that cut $30,000 in property-tax-supported expenditures from the draft budget approved for publication last month. State law allows local governments to scale back spending from published budgets but requires them to republish if they decide to increase spending.

With the budget approved Monday, the city’s portion of taxes owed on a $150,000 home would be $588. But the owner of that home might not pay more, or that much more, in taxes next year because the Douglas County appraiser found in March that a majority of single-family residences in the city declined in value, contributing to a 1.6 percent decline in the city’s overall valuation.

The 0.54 mill increase in the 2014 budget was “revenue neutral” because it equaled the amount lost to the valuation decrease, City Administrator Chris Lowe said. One mill is equivalent to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

Half of the $30,000 chopped from the published budget came from the USD 348 Board of Education’s decision to pay $15,045 of the school resource officer’s salary for 2014. Lowe said the other savings came from penciling out some equipment purchases.

The 2014 budget has no increases in city utility rates. It would provide 4 percent merit raises to city employees.

The big capital improvement project planned is the city’s commitment to provide $139,800 for the realignment of the High Street/U.S. Highway 56 intersection. The city is a partner with the state and Douglas County in the project.

In other action, the council:

• Approved a bid from Killough Construction of $121,880 for the year’s asphalt mill and overlay street projects. The bid was $8,000 less than budgeted for the work, public works supervisor Bill Winegar said. The winning bid’s unit costs of $58.85 for ton of asphalt and $1.34 per square yard milled were substantially lower than that of the other bidder, Hamm Construction, of $61.35 for asphalt and $2.25 for milling. Streets to get both a mill and overlay include Firetree Avenue, Flame Way and Blaze Boulevard. Those to get an overlay only include Quayle, Eisenhower and Washington streets.

• Approved an ordinance allowing parking on the south side of Elm Street east of the entrance to the Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center to Bullpup Drive.

Comments

1776attorney 1 year, 1 month ago

While the city leaders deserve credit for holding the line on spending and utility costs, I think taxpayers and voters should note the following--

"Streets to get both a mill and overlay include Firetree Avenue, Flame Way and Blaze Boulevard. Those to get an overlay only include Quayle, Eisenhower and Washington streets."

Every single one of these streets is "north" of highway 56.

The 3 Firetree streets that will have their asphalt milled up, recycled and overlayed are some of the newest and most modern streets in all of Baldwin City already. Once again this wealthier, developer-connected neighborhood is receiving favoritism over south Highway 56 streets that have not been improved and modernized in 30 years.

Quayle, Eisenhower and Washington streets will receive new asphalt overlay while there are some streets south of Highway 56 in residential areas that still have rock / pebble streets and have never been upgraded. Many of these areas have street gutters that consist of 2 foot drop offs into a muddy ditch.

Once again, voters and taxpayers should take the time to inform themselves as to which city officials live in these north Highway 56 areas, including planning commission members, and ask why these developers and homeowners receive favored projects at all taxpayer expense.

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sandman 1 year, 1 month ago

"No one spoke at the public hearing Monday before the Baldwin City Council approved the city’s 2014 budget".

So 1776, if you feel so strongly about these issues, why didn't you go to the meeting and say something?

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1776attorney 1 year, 1 month ago

Sandman

Thanks for your comments.

I was there. I've been in "the inner circle" of Baldwin City government and mover-and-shackers for over 40 years. Third generation and over a century of Baldwin City decision making.

Sadly, not many taxpayers and voters attend even though they freely voice their frustrations and complaints casually around town or during my interactions with them. The unhappy majority is out there.

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sandman 1 year, 1 month ago

Ok, but you still didn't answer my question. If you were actually at the meeting, why didn't you make these same comments to the council before they voted on the 2014 budget? Isn't that the whole purpose of the public comments venue?

When you make comments like this, and then admit to attending the meeting and NOT saying anything, it makes you look like just another one of the so called "unhappy majority" that chooses to hide behind the veil of this nameless, faceless forum and sling mud at the elected officials.

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