Stanton city manager continues budget work

By Meghan Nelson • Last Updated 10:32 am on Thursday, May 11, 2017

During Tuesday’s Stanton City Commission meeting, Mayor Ken Burris and City Manager Elizabeth Pynaert review some of the changes — outlined in green — to the proposed 2017-2018 budget.

STANTON — This city’s fiscal year will end June 31 and a new budget laid out by City Manager ElizabethPyneart will begin.

During Tuesday’s Stanton City Commission meeting, Pyneart presented an updated 2017-2018 budget.

“I made some changes, per your request,” she said as she pulled up the budget on her computer to show commissioners the changes.

New figures in the budget include:

• An increase from $1,015 to $1,250 in miscellaneous revenue in the general fund to account for a new Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) policy.

• A decrease from $7,207 to $7,100 in the contribution from major streets funds due to corrections.

• A decrease from $4,060 to $4,000 in the contribution from local streets funds due to corrections.

• An increase from $23,375 to $25,000 for both the contribution from sewer and water funds due to corrections.

• An increase from $37,209 to $47,000 for city manager wages per commissioners’ request to budget a manager for a full fiscal year.

• An increase from $15,600 to $20,000 for City Hall support staff, which now accounts for cleaning staff.

• An increase from zero to $5,764 in cemetery professional services to install software for the cemetery.

• A decrease from $59,000 to $7,000 in Department of Public Works capital outlay because the city will be able to wait a few more years before replacing the snow plow.

• An increase from $5,000 to $5,764 in professional services for water and sewer funds to account for BS&A software.

• A new line item in the water fund for $9,600 for water tower maintenance.

The estimated total general fund revenue for the 2017-2018 fiscal year is $754,891, which is $5,303 more than the budget Pynaert originally presented on April 25. The city will now have a net profit of $11,126, opposed to the $21,522 deficit proposed in the first draft.

However, there will still be a deficit of $25,273 in the water fund because of the well pump rehab project Stanton has planned for this year.

“I would highly, highly recommend that you go ahead and do the well pump rehab,” Pynaert said. “If you don’t and a pump breaks down, you will have triple the cost because you’ll have emergency fees.”

Commissioners still had concerns about the budget and asked Pynaert to bring back the budget with a comparison of funds.

“That’s the problem I think (Montcalm) county ran into. They didn’t keep track of the fund balance,” Commissioner Karl Yoder said. “When you look at a budget, it does not reflect the fund balance. This (budget) tells you what will be taken from or added to, but I think we need to keep an eye on each fund balance.”

Since the city has one bank account for all funds, Pynaert said she would not be able to give exact figures without review, but she guessed the funds total about $1.1 million. According to the audit, Stanton received last October, the general fund was at $715,594.

“It would be nice to see the balances,” Commissioner Krista Johnson said. “Then there’s no nervousness about making sure the funds have enough money.”

Commissioners also remained concerned that $167,475 was being transferred from the general fund to general fund revenue to budget for the estimated $130,000 Veterans Memorial Park project.

“I feel like every year we transfer out of the general fund to do projects, but I don’t think that’s really the way to operate,” Johnson said. “Yes, we have an idea what we want to do, but we don’t have a set plan yet. We wouldn’t operate our homes that way.”

Johnson said she thought the $130,000 estimate would be a bit much for the project and she hopes through grants and other money sources the cost of the park wouldn’t be that much.

“I’m not going to vote for a budget that has the $167,000 transfer in it,” Yoder said. “If you want to keep the $130,000 in it, fine, but reduce that transfer.”

In addition to the budget, Pynaert also presented the capital improvement plan for the city through the fiscal year 2021-2022.

Last year, the City Commission approved $15,000 to pave cemetery roads, $50,000 for the well pump rehab and $130,000 Veterans Memorial Park projects during the next fiscal year.

“My recommendation would be to go ahead and complete the paving of the cemetery roads for $25,000, which has been factored into the budget,” Pynaert said.

For 2018-2019, the City Commission approved a residential street project for $115,000-$150,000. They also pushed back the Lincoln Street sewer repairs with the Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Grant, with an estimated cost of $150,000 to 2018.

“We are looking into if there are other grants to go along with (the sewer project),” Pynaert told commissioners.

For 2019-2020, commissioners approved a $150,000 storm sewer rehab, which would be funded through grants and the general fund.

Pynaert proposed in 2020-2021 for the city to purchase a “new-used” plow truck for $100,000.

For 2021-2022, Pynaert proposed the city implements a downtown-wide wifi initiative for between $15,000 and $20,000. Downtown Development Authority (DDA) funds and the general fund capital outlay would fund the project.

Mayor Ken Burris recommended the City Commission take two weeks to look over the plan before voting to adopt the plan.

Pynaert plans to bring back the budget and discuss the capital improvement plan again at the next City Commission meeting at 7 p.m. May 23 at City Hall.

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