Hopes are within City of Joplin's next fiscal year budget - KOAM TV 7

Hopes are within City of Joplin's next fiscal year budget


A correction to this story:  We reported that City council could cut staff positions.  While council members did not say this specifically, they did say general cuts were on the table for discussion.  The budget was eventually passed by City Council.  It includes $200,000 for economic development efforts by the Chamber of Commerce and $70,000 for its role in a regional partnership.  The council also approved a five percent increase for the Joplin Sports Authority, and $50,000 will be spent to fix a broken sewer line at Memorial Hall.


Joplin city officials hope some new restaurants, like Texas Roadhouse, with new sales tax revenues in the area, will be part of a rescue of the city's financial situation.

"The budget is not in very good shape," says Joplin Finance Director Leslie Haase.

"We are healthy, as far as where we are now.  But we just see the writing on the wall, that in years to come, and months to come even, that we've got some things that need to be replaced," says City Councilman Gary Shaw.

The city tries to replace 10 to 11 police cars every year, along with new lawn mowers and computers for officials and staff.  

"The issue is, is that you try to replace your recurring capital each year so that you don't get to a point where you have so much capital to replace all in one year," says Haase.

But the city's finance director says there was no room to replace most capital on the replacement list this year, and there's no room to replace any capital whatsoever next year.

"MODOT says they practically aren't going to do anything this year, except just exist, try to maintain what they have.  There are certain areas that the city falls into that, too," says Shaw.

City officials say increasing costs to the city, coming from increasing costs of supplies like fuel and other items even for road maintenance, are not exceeding profit to the city.  City officials say some things or some people need to be cut from the budget, though the extent of what things or which people will be a city council decision.

"We have a great concern about, we can't really increase more taxes and things of that nature because we just don't want to put more of a burden on them (residents)," says Shaw.

When it comes to predicting any burden on the city and its residents, Joplin's finance director says she's taking it one year at a time.

"I don't have a crystal ball.  But what I'm saying is, how we balance the budget this year is a one-time thing," says Haase.

Joplin's next fiscal year budget runs from November 1st of this year to October 31st of 2016.  City council met yesterday and will meet again tonight to discuss the upcoming budget.

In the coming days, Joplin's city manager will make a presentation about a proposed new computer program that budgets city items, much like how households budget.  The program would more easily itemize projects and programs located within each city department.  This would allow city officials, even residents, to look at specific ways the budget could be cut.


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