SWC Council Looks At Future Cuts
Southwest City again reviewed the proposed 2019 budget in search of saved pennies that could add up to dollars. The current draft is balanced, with only a $95 difference between revenue and expenses.
Mayor David Blake began by announcing the city must decline the addition of a fourth officer.
“We’ve robbed from everything this year to fund the senior center, which we want to keep,” Mayor David Blake said.
Blake suggested speaking with the city attorney to discuss a public hearing regarding a ballot measure to add a one percent sales tax designated for long-term funding of the center.
Alderman Craig Martin posited that he didn’t think enough people utilized the senior center to successfully pass the ballot measure.
Blake replied, saying the worst thing that could happen is it doesn’t pass.
The council discussed cashing in one of the city’s two CDs designated for senior center funding. With one $25,000 CD, the city could receive a $5,000 reimbursement for recent light repairs at the center, allow Director Melissa Lance to remove funds for contract labor for the year, then return the remainder of funds to the CD and allow it to further develop.
“We’re set this year, but I’m telling you what’s coming. We need to think about next year,” Blake said.
City Clerk Missy Zinn then addressed another large expense — fireworks for the Third of July display, which is one of the largest events in town. She asked Shane Clark, who is responsible for the display, if the pyrotechnics could be purchased elsewhere at a lower price.
“I am totally against getting them somewhere else,” Clark said. “I don’t want to shoot product that is from someone else.”
Clark went on to explain that Premiere Pyrotechnics taught him to shoot fireworks safely when he began and provides annual schooling for $100 which is then returned via $100 worth of product on attendance. He also said they were the best, most consistent quality in the area.
The council agreed not to change distributors.
City Clerk Zinn went on to discuss the city’s various sponsorships, such as the annual fishing derby, Easter Egg Hunt, Old Timer’s Day, etc.
Zinn said municipalities are not supposed to give donations or sponsor events because the city’s revenue is taxpayer’s money, meant to be invested in the community, not given out for events. She spoke about the possible legal ramifications and recommended canceling all sponsorships in the coming years.
“Even if we could get it chiseled down, just to half the amount, it would help,” Blake said.
The largest sponsorship is in the amount of $5,000 towards the Old Timer’s Day Rodeo.
Council members agreed they would like to learn how the funds are being invested.
The budget is scheduled to be finalized at the next meeting, on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Fire Chief Shane Clark said the department made use of the helicopter landing zone for a recent MedFlight.
Public Works Director Clark reported smoothing Honey Lake Acres Road and repairing the entrance to the school parking lot.
He said the water department has been busy repairing leaks on W. Cherokee Street. Employees also checked several accounts for leaks due to high usage reports. Clark spoke with representatives from Ozark Water Solutions to repair the chlorine system and the pump control at the Broadway tower.
Clark also reported unplugging a sewer main at the intersection of E. Comanche Street and Thacker Street and repairing a service connection on School Street.
Police Chief Bud Gow presented the council with an invoice from the Drug Task Force in Joplin. He said the city has not received assistance from the task force in the past two years and recommended canceling the city’s membership in the group.
Clerk Zinn said the stock of city dog tags has been depleted. She has ordered more tags and additional tags for the 2019 year.
In other business, the council approved the annual Christmas Lighting Contest. Displays will be judged on Monday, Dec. 17, and winners will be announced at the next meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 18. First place is awarded $100, second place is awarded $50 and third place is awarded $25.