Six funds add up to produce the 2013 St. Clair city budget, which totals $6.449 million. The board of aldermen approved the annual appropriations without incident or discussion during its meeting on Monday.
The board conducted three budget workshops in October and November where discussions centered on producing a balanced document.
“The proposed 2013 annual appropriations is balanced,” a budget summary sheet attached to the budget proposal stated. “The budget is comprised of six funds: general, park, water/sewer, street improvement, half cent (sales tax) and transportation. All of these funds are balanced.”
For the fifth consecutive year, the overall budget is balanced. The 2013 annual appropriations is lower than the current 2012 budget of $6.503 million. That computes to less than a 1 percent decrease.
Here is a breakdown of the six funds in the 2013 budget, which all individually are balanced.
The general fund is the city’s largest at $2.211 million and includes salaries. A 2 percent pay increase is reflected in the budget for all employees except elected officials and a 3 percent increase for waste hauling services.
“The monies appropriated within the general fund provide for crucial municipal services that include police protection, street operations, municipal court services, building inspection services, municipal code enforcement, animal control services, airport services, building maintenance, community development, waste hauling services and administration,” City Administrator Rick Childers wrote in his budget report.
The majority of revenue in the general fund comes from taxes, which is estimated at $1.585 million. Other income comes from licenses and permits, municipal court, leases and rentals, law enforcement and utilities.
The largest expense is for personnel, which includes salaries, insurance and related costs.
Water and Sewer
The monies appropriated in the water and sewer fund provide water utility and sanitary sewer utilities services to city residents. These funds also are used for debt payment and capital improvements related to the provision of said services.
“The water and sewer fund is paid entirely through user fees and is financially solvent,” Childers said, adding that the budget includes no increase in water and sewer collection fees next year.
The water and sewer budget totals $1.922 million in 2013. The majority of revenue comes from utility collection.
The parks fund provides city parks operations and maintenance. Funding is included for continued minor upgrades within the parks system as well as for a new, nine-hole disc golf course at Evergreen Park, a payment plan for installation of a spray park and for Freedom Fest, Boo Bash and Christmas parade activities.
Money also has been set aside to hire a part-time recreation director.
The total 2013 appropriations for the parks fund is $145,137.
“The park fund, while balanced, relies on typical annual appropriation of 10 percent of general fund sales tax revenues, the budget summary states.
Childers said the street improvement fund will see “significant activity” in 2013 as work continues on both the Springfield Road and Interstate 44 North Service Road projects.
“This fund also provides for services related directly to streets, sidewalks, roadways and highways within our city to include lighting and cleaning,” Childers said. “In 2013, because of the cost of major projects under way, extremely limited funds have been appropriated for street overlay or sealing.”
The 2012 budget included no funding for street overlay or sealing. The 2013 budget includes $45,000 in that line item.
During the budget workshops, aldermen spent a lot of time discussing street improvements and how many secondary city streets need work. The majority of the board members opted to put much of the street work on hold for another year because of the budget restraints and because they thought some of the limited funds would be better served elsewhere.
Budgeted monies for this fund total $1.339 million. The majority of the money comes from grants.
Half-Cent Sales Tax
This fund deals with a half-cent sales tax throughout the city to pay toward existing debt obligations for water and sewer. The fund is used to pay the principal and interest toward the 2003 water and sewer bond and the 1999 water and sewer bond.
This portion of the budget totals $412,900 for 2013.
Monies provided through this tax provide for “crucial municipal transportation projects and municipal debt reduction,” Childers said.
The fund derives revenue from a half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements and includes a reserve to protect the integrity of the fund and to meet emergency expenditures, he said.
Total appropriations for this fund are $209,600. It includes a portion of the funds in reserve for payments related to the North Service Road relocation project.