The St. Clair Board of Aldermen voted 4-0 in favor of approving the city’s 2019 budget at Monday’s meeting.

A public hearing was held before the meeting for residents to ask questions and share comments regarding the budget.

The only speaker was resident Pat Wilson who asked why the city is leasing a dump truck, a backhoe and a sewer camera.

“Those three items were combined into a large lease that was purchased,” said City Administrator Travis Dierker.

The combined total for the lease purchase was approximately $350,000, he said, to be paid off in seven years.

Wilson also asked why the city is spending $50,000 on airport clearing.

“We decided to appropriate $50,000 for clearing or removing brush between the interstate and the airport to make that property more visible and more attractive for development,” Mayor Ron Blum explained.

Budget

Dierker said the new budget is balanced for the 11th year in a row.

“I want to thank the board of aldermen for going through the budget and asking any questions,” he said.

St. Clair has six different funds including general, water and sewer, park, street improvement, half-cent sales tax and transportation tax.

Appropriations are just over $6 million, which is a slight increase from last year. The increase is due to funds received from Prop P sales tax for police officers.

Wages

City hall employees will receive a 2 percent salary increase due to the rise in the cost of living.

Dierker’s salary will increase by 1 percent, which is set by ordinance.

Thanks to Prop P, the city will be getting an additional $190,000, earmarked for law enforcement, which will go toward a $3.85 an hour increase for each officer and the addition of another officer.

General Fund

In the general fund, revenues will exceed expenditures by about $1,500. Some expenses noted include updated cameras, tables, chairs and supplies for city hall, as well as demolition costs for buildings that have been deemed dangerous.

There also is money budgeted for some work to be done regarding the city hall parking lot, ceilings and doors, in addition to upgrades for the bathrooms at the senior center.

Additionally, he said there are grants available to help pay for police body cameras, police vehicle cameras and other networking items.

Approximately $50,000 will be budgeted to clear some of the airport property.

Regarding trash fees, there will be a 2.5 percent increase starting next March.

Water and Sewer

In 2019, residents will not experience an increase in water and sewer rates as felt in the past.

However, the city will be doing water and sewer upgrades in 2020 and residents may see an increase in rates in the future.

Additionally, money will be budgeted to complete the city’s radio meter change-out program.

Upgrades also will be made to the city’s electronic alarm system for the water and wastewater systems.

Dierker said if something were to happen, a message will be sent to the public works department in a timely manner.

Revenues exceed expenditures by about $79,000 for water and sewer. Approximately $75,000 will be saved to help pay engineering costs for wastewater projects in 2020 and 2021, required by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Park Fund

In the park fund, revenues exceed expenditures by about $26,000. Approximately $25,000 will be saved for new playground equipment in the future.

Dierker noted that a part-time position will be eliminated within the parks department.

The city is hoping to purchase a UTV that would help maintenance workers carry equipment while they work throughout the parks.

Wastewater Sales Tax

This year, the city made its final payment on the half-cent sales tax loan.

Next year, the city will have about $295,000 that will go toward future wastewater projects required by DNR.

Street Fund

In 2019, the city will receive a federal grant to build sidewalks on Paul Parks Drive.

Additionally, funds have been budgeted for the city to do drainage and box culvert work on Sarah Jane Lane, located off of PP, and drainage work on Diane Street.

Revenues exceed expenditures by about $7,000 in the street improvement fund.

Transportation Tax

About $250,000 has been budgeted for street paving on Paul Parks Drive and St. Clair Plaza to go along with the Paul Parks Drive sidewalk project.

About $200,000 will be transferred to the street improvement fund to help pay for drainage work previously mentioned, according to Dierker.

Expenses exceed revenues by about $345,000.