At 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 5, the Board of Aldermen, Mayor and City officials met at the Brighton Park Assembly Room to discuss the budget for the City’s legal department, court services and public works.
City Attorney Will Purdie presented the Legal Department’s budget ideas for consideration to the Board.
“I pretty much carried forward the numbers from last year; it seemed to work pretty well for us,” Purdie said. “This being my first year, I didn’t want to make too many changes.” Purdie gave his numbers to City Clerk Russell Wall. He noted that the only number that went down was the major contract for web services, which was an expense related to legal research.
Judge Steven Boone submitted the budget ideas being considered for Court Services, saying the numbers are “same as last year, except for $500 less.”
Dexter Shelby, Director of Public Works, and Bill Owen, the Consulting Engineer for the City of Clinton, were on hand to answer questions about the Public Works’ department budget ideas being considered.
Wall said that the overall budget ideas up for discussion for Public Works contain no wages, and don’t include any capital items such as equipment purchases.
Two budget item ideas come from the Mayor’s Fund: $5,000 for bricks to extend Jefferson Street, and; $32,000 for the Wildflower Project. The Mayor’s Fund budget was reduced in order to fund these two costs, Wall said.
Shelby explained that costs had gone up a little to cover the cost of uniforms for Public Works. The cost of saw blades and repair costs also increased, so the budget item being requested is higher to cover those costs.
An additional cost is for professional cleaning and sanitizing services required because of COVID-19. Funds from the Federal CARES act should reimburse the City for costs related to COVID-19, Wall explained. He has submitted for costs up until June; he plans to submit again to cover costs through September.
Owen explained costs for GIS mapping, which is part of a $940,000 project. Other project expenses included elevating the water tank and installation on Clinton Boulevard. The water department also needs a generator on a trailer. Grant funds can be used for this at a 75% to 25% cost to the City, which is reimbursable.
Other projects include pump replacement parts and repairs, pump station repairs and upgrades, gate valve repair, and planning and design for the sewer upgrade. Owen said the City is working with InfraMark on the sewer repairs.
“What InfraMark would like to do is determine when the pumps are turned on,” Owen explained, adding that InfraMark hasn’t been able to determine that yet. By upgrading computerized equipment at the wastewater treatment plant, InfraMark will be able to monitor processes. A trailer-mounted generator is also needed.
Shelby reported that garbage costs have gone up, because the city’s garbage increased from 20 tons to 24 tons. This is because of a couple of things: COVID-19 requirements only allow trucks to run to a certain time in the evening, which means garbage needs to be picked up the next morning on the route, and also because of the extra garbage generated while people have been at home during the pandemic.
It is estimated that trash rates might increase by a $1 per household; however, this information is only up for discussion won’t be final until the City offers a proposed budget in September.
Wall said the increase in water and sewer funds for various projects is projected to be $1,265,000 for water and $117,000 for sewer. The estimated beginning balance for the water and sewer funds on October 1, 2020, will be nearly $5.5 million, with a $3,701,000 balance in the Water and Sewer funds.
“One of the things that we do that other cities don’t do is increase our costs for water and sewer every year. This means we don’t have to go out and seek funding in order to pay for things we need,” Wall explained. “Other cities haven’t increased fees to offset expenses. When they have a big project, they have to go out and do a bond issue raise the funds.”
Upcoming budget meetings, which will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Brighton Park Assembly Room, 530 Brighton Park Drive, include:
- August 6, 2020 – Police Department, Fire Department and Community Development Department Budgets
- August 10, 2020 – Parks and Recreation Department, Therapeutic Recreation Department and Economic Development Department
- August 11, 2020 – Main Street, Olde Towne Depot, Visitor Center and Communications Department Budgets
- August 12, 2020 – General Discussion of all budgets (if necessary)
The 2020/21 Budget public hearing will be September 15, 2020, in the Municipal Courtroom.
The 2019/20 fiscal year budget was adopted on September 13, 2019. For the 2020 fiscal year, the City of Clinton, Mississippi millage rate will be 44.49 mills.
By Katherine R. Dougan
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