November 28, 2012 - A first reading of Sunset Hills' proposed 2013 budget that projects a surplus of more than $5,000 was conducted last week by the Board of Aldermen.
The proposed general-fund budget projects total revenues of $7,099,695 with anticipated expenditures of $7,094,373 — a surplus of $5,322.
Final approval of the city's 2013 budget will be considered when the Board of Aldermen meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at City Hall, 3939 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
For 2013, city officials anticipate a reduction in total general-fund revenues and expenditures compared to 2012 projections.
Total general-fund revenues are projected to decrease by $279,688 compared to 2012. However, excluding grants, revenues are projected to decrease by $29,843.
Total general-fund expenditures are expected to drop by $170,533 next year. Excluding grants, though, expenditures are expected to increase by $79,312.
With a beginning general-fund balance of $5,813,679, the city is projected to end 2013 with a general-fund balance of $5,819,001.
For 2013, the capital-improvement fund projects expenditures of $865,935 with anticipated revenue of $902,000 — a surplus of $36,065. With a beginning balance of $143,000, the capital-improvement fund is projected to end 2013 with a balance of $179,865.
In August, Sunset Hills voters approved a permanent extension of the city's half-cent, capital-improvement sales tax, which allowed the city to retire roughly $450,000 in outstanding capital-improvement bonds.
The half-cent, capital-improvement sales tax originally was approved by voters in 1994 to fund a more than $5.7 million bond issue for City Hall repairs, a new police station, a new public works building and street improvements, among other items.
The bonds were issued in 1996, refunded in 2004 and were set to be retired in 2016. Without approval of the sales-tax extension, Proposition 1, the half-cent, capital-improvement sales tax would have ended in 2016 when the bonds were retired. Retiring the outstanding bonds saved the city roughly $41,000 in net interest expense and created a cash surplus of more than $375,000.
For 2013, city officials project the county road fund balance to drop to $133,027 from $163,027.
Ward 4 Alderman Art Havener, who serves as chairman of the city's Finance Committee, discussed the proposed 2013 budget during the Nov. 20 Board of Aldermen meeting. He noted the Finance Committee met three times to formulate the budget and the Board of Aldermen discussed the proposed budget during a work session last month.
"… Each of the department heads has assisted in balancing the 2013 budget with the largest adjustment coming from the Police Department with the elimination of a third detective, followed by the removal of the part-time city plan reviewer and a slight adjustment for the timing of the Comprehensive Plan payment, which we're basically shifting to the second quarter from the first quarter," Havener said.
"We all recognize that we are benefiting this year from a surplus in the capital-improvement fund, and that is benefiting the 2013 budget," he continued. "This will be addressed in the 2014 budget … The city's in a very strong financial position, but our real concerns are health care costs, insurance and pension costs."
Havener noted a joint meeting of the city's Finance Committee and Personnel Committee will be conducted Thursday, Dec. 6. At that meeting, a representative of the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System will be present to "go over our pension fund liabilities."
In the future, he said the Finance Committee will meet with Parks and Recreation Department Director Gerald Brown in an effort "to implement a process where we can discuss budget amendments each year in the Parks and Recreation Department. The big issues right now are that the Community Center and the pool (are) still relatively new and so it's somewhat unpredictable.
"It's just more us putting in a formal process that we don't have right now, and that's going to take several months …," Havener said.
The proposed 2013 budget includes employee salary increases of 1.5 percent and a 1-percent incentive pool, according to Havener.
The Personnel Committee recommended a 1.5-percent salary increase for all employees receiving at least a satisfactory evaluation and a 1-percent incentive pool for those receiving an above-average evaluation.
Employees at the top of their respective grade would receive a $500 salary increase and would be eligible for the 1-percent incentive pay, according to Havener.