Di­rec­tors hear first bud­get work­shop

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael Burch­fiel Staff Writer mburch­fiel@nwadg.com ■

It is bud­get sea­son again in Siloam Springs, and mem­bers of the Board of Di­rec­tors have started the process of re­view­ing and pass­ing a bud­get for the city in 2018 with a work­shop on Tues­day. The meeting, the first of a planned se­ries of three work­shops, pre­ceded a reg­u­larly sched­uled Board of Di­rec­tors meeting.

Tues­day’s bud­get work­shop started with a pre­sen­ta­tion by City Ad­min­is­tra­tor Phillip Pat­ter­son and Fi­nance Di­rec­tor Christina Pet­riches. In this year’s bud­get process, staff ini­tially drew up a bud­get that would have been $800,000 in the red, Pat­ter­son said. That bud­get in­cluded all pro­posed projects and around $500,000 in new per­son­nel re­quests.

Staff took that bud­get, re­viewed and elim­i­nated some capital re­quests, ad­justed some rev­enue es­ti­ma­tions and deleted all of the per­son­nel re­quests. From the new stripped-down draft, staff cre­ated a new bud­get, only to have to read­just when the an­nounce­ment of the clo­sure of a Siloam Springs plant op­er­ated by Del Monte meant that pro­jected rev­enues would be lower than ex­pected.

The cur­rent draft of the bud­get in­cludes new po­si­tions for three full-time fire­fight­ers and a new san­i­ta­tion driver. The bud­get draft in­cludes a pro­jected $800,000 sur­plus to be placed in re­serve for projects that do not have ded­i­cated fund­ing sources, Pat­ter­son said.

The bud­get draft in­cludes a 3 per­cent wage in­crease. One per­cent of that raise was cov­ered by a pay plan that was adopted by the board dur­ing the sub­se­quent meeting, and the rest is a 2 per­cent across-the-board pay raise.

That 1 per­cent came as a re­sult of a res­o­lu­tion adopted by di­rec­tors at the end of the Oct. 3 meeting. Ac­cord­ing to the city staff re­port, the city did not have a for­mal com­pen­sa­tion plan be­fore Tues­day’s meeting, when di­rec­tors adopted a range of pay for each po­si­tion em­ployed by the city and raised the pay of em­ploy­ees that were mak­ing less than the bot­tom of their pay range.

Siloam Springs Hu­man Re­sources Man­ager Adri­enne Barr, who pre­sented the plan, said staff ar­rived at their pay ranges by com­par­ing the pay of­fered by peer cities. The plan also made sim­i­lar po­si­tions’ pay con­sis­tent across de­part­ments, Barr said. The pay plan was unan­i­mously ap­proved. Bring­ing each of the city’s em­ploy­ees who were be­ing paid less than their pay range up to the min­i­mum will cost the city $132,426.02 af­ter ben­e­fits are fac­tored into the cost.

Di­rec­tors also con­sid­ered four or­di­nances, cov­er­ing two top­ics. The first pair of or­di­nances cov­ered Med­i­cal Mar­i­juana zon­ing codes, and were placed on their third read­ings and adopted. Se­nior Plan­ner Ben Rhoads said the city had re­ceived no feed­back from cit­i­zens since the last time the or­di­nance was read.

The sec­ond pair of or­di­nances were placed on their sec­ond of three read­ings. The set of or­di­nances will, if adopted, up­date the city’s zon­ing and build­ing codes as they re­late to man­u­fac­tured homes, in­tro­duc­ing re­quire­ments like lower pop­u­la­tion den­sity, more land­scap­ing and more mod­ern build­ing

stan­dards. The or­di­nances were both placed on their sec­ond read­ings unan­i­mously.

Di­rec­tor Steve Beers said he was asked about the pur­pose of a re­quire­ment for future man­u­fac­tured home de­vel­op­ments that there be ex­tra space pro­vided for park­ing. Rhoads said the re­quire­ment came from a sur­vey of the zon­ing codes of sim­i­lar cities and towns and the space was re­quired for res­i­dents to park cars, boats and other ve­hi­cles.

“I’m pleased to see cit­i­zens get­ting in­volved, show­ing con­cerns and then watch­ing as the city ad­dresses those con­cerns,” said Di­rec­tor Brad Burns.

Di­rec­tors also ap­proved a con­tract for the con­struc­tion of a stor­age shed that will be used to store as­phalt and milling equip­ment. The shed is needed to pro­tect more than $1 mil­lion in equip­ment, said Street Su­per­in­ten­dent Den­nis Kindy. The con­tract, which came in un­der bud­get at $72,434.25, was awarded to the same com­pany that built the win­ter­weather stor­age build­ing that was ap­proved last De­cem­ber.

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