Council considers budget for upcoming fiscal year

Bob Foos

Webb City Council members got their first look at the 2023-24 fiscal year budget Monday and accepted it on first reading.

They and the public have the next two weeks to review and propose changes to the budget. Final reading of the budget will be on the council’s Oct. 23 agenda. The budget will take effect as the fiscal year starts on Nov. 1.

The major item is a $1,546,724 expenditure to increase the water supply in an effort to drastically reduce the amount of water purchased regularly from Missouri American Water to meet growing customer demand.

It will finance completion of the deepened well beneath the water tower (Well No. 15)and a new well at a site to be determined (Well No. 16).

The council has previously agreed that improving infrastructure, including the effort to become independent from Missouri American Water, is the best use of federal funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The city’s ARPA fund started the current fiscal year with $2,431,904 and added $115,780 in new revenue. After spending $982,943, the fund will have $1,564,741 on Nov. 1. An additional $36,983 in revenue is expected, which will bring the total available to $1,601,724. It is expected that the account will be drawn down to $0 when the next fiscal year ends on Oct. 31, 2024.

A large part of the $982,943 in ARPA spending this year was for asphalt overlay on streets, in addition to what the city normally allocates for paving.

Next year’s budget calls for another $500,000 for paving to be paid from the street fund.

Jerry Fisher (3rd Ward) argued the city has funds available to pave even more streets.

But City Administrator Carl Francis said he prefers to keep a balance in the street fund equal to roughly 30% of the street budget in case of emergency.

Other than capital outlays for water and streets, Francis said capital improvement items are limited in most departments, except for the $150,000 replacement of a dump truck.

The city’s largest source of revenue, the 1-cent general sales tax, is expected to equal this year’s receipts, which total $2,376,000.

Francis said he hopes sales tax receipts will increase after two businesses under construction on Madison Street are open – Popeye’s and Whataburger.

The entire budget can be viewed and downloaded. You can skip to:

• Page 21 – ARPA revenue and expenses

• Page 34 – Capital expenditures

• Page 35 – Beginning and ending fund balances

In other action, the council:

• Approved the rezoning of two tracts on South Hall Street, 1817-1825 and 1919, to commercial (C-2).Chances of Hope plans to move its headquarters from 27 S. Madison St. to South Hall Street.

• Approved the rezoning of a tract on the east side of Oronogo Street at 14th Street from single-family (R-1) to duplex (R-2). The developer plans to construct duplexes as well as single-family homes.

• Allowed the police department to sell a surplus 2015 Ford Police Interceptor sedan through Police Chief Don Melton said the city may get a higher bid than with the normal sealed-bid process.

• Allowed the public works department to buy a new dump truck bed at a cost of $16,950 from Bus Andrews. Only one bid was received.