Despite virus uncertainty, 2020 was a good year financially for Webb City

City is yet to receive $2.2M in two payments as part of the American Rescue Plan Act

Webb City wound up its 2020 fiscal year $1,323,083 ahead of where it started, according to the independent audit report delivered Monday to the City Council.

John Cummings, of KPM CPAs and Advisors, said that was the best possible result considering it was a pandemic year. He highlighted the following:

Total building permit fees are up 52.2% over the previous fiscal year. New commercial building in the Centennial Retail and Industrial Park accounted for most of the increase.

Sales tax collections were up 11.34% and use tax collections were up 18.52%.

The city was prepared to re-evaluate capital expenditures to mitigate any loss of revenues due to the pandemic. In the end, the city did not need to delay any of the outlays.

Replacing sidewalks and gutters and repaving West Daugherty Street was one of the projects that proceeded despite initial concerns about the affect of the pandemic on revenue.

“With all the capital projects you had it was a pretty strong year,” Cummings told the council members.

Jerry Fisher (3rd Ward) pointed out that nine months into the 2021 fiscal year, sales tax revenue is still increasing by more than 13% and use tax revenue is increasing nearly 17% above last year at the same time.

Repaving Broadway is the big street project in the current budget. It was reported that it will likely take place in September.

The audit notes that nine new retail businesses are under contract to build in Centennial Retail and Industrial Park.

It predicts the city will be allocated $2,234,933 from the American Rescue Plan Act, which must be spent by Dec. 31, 2024.

There were no significant financial control changes recommended by the auditors. 

Mayor Lynn Ragsdale complimented the work of Tracy Craig, financial administrator, and other staff members for managing the city’s finances and working with the auditors.

Cummings closed his presentation by warning against the increasing threat of cyber attacks, such as the one Joplin is recovering from.

In other action:

  • City Administrator Carl Francis reported that the well house for the new well on Homestead Drive is nearly complete. And he said the possibility of reactivating the old well beneath the main water tower is being discussed.
  • There was a discussion of whether it is the city’s or the homeowner’s responsibility to trim trees that spread over right-of-way. Rick Roth, street and water director, said the city has the right to cut limbs for safety but often gives the homeowner the option of do the trimming.
  • An ordinance was approved that rezones a house at 215 S. Ball St. from single-family to multi-family zoning.
  • The final plat of Cardinal Pointe subdivision Plat 3 was approved by ordinance.
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