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Proposed Joplin Budget Projects Deficit - KOAM TV 7

Proposed Joplin Budget Projects Deficit

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

City officials in Joplin are looking at the city's first deficit budget in more than 15 years. 

Monday, during the first of what will be a handful of budget work sessions, officials reviewed a 421-page proposed budget, along with 10 years of financial information.

Joplin Finance Director Leslie Hasse summarizes the budget, "Expenditures are more than revenues. And that doesn't work."

Since 2012 the cities expenses have a outpaced its growth of revenue. Joplin finance director Leslie Haas says the proposed 2017 budget is the first in her 18 years of service projected to operate at a deficit.

"Last year we balance the budget. But the only way we did that is by cutting all the capital and there was no raises included. This year we could not postpone ongoing capital again," Hasse said. "We need to replace police cars. We need to replace mowers. We need to replace computers."

Which will mean dipping into reserves next fiscal year. Monday's work session focuses on reviewing the proposed budget along with city finance information since 2008.

"Every budget session I've been to has been to the bone, lets survive, lets pay our bills," Joplin city councilman Ryan Stanley said. "And in my opinion if we don't make some major changes in how we view and how we prepare for the future we're gonna be stuck in that cycle for years to come."

"We didn't find ourselves in this positions financially overnight," City Manager Sam Anselm said. "We're probably not gonna get out of this position overnight."

"And there are areas that can definitely be cut. But it's a matter whether council will be willing to make those cuts. Cause they will affect individuals and they'll affect programs," Joplin city councilman Phil Stinnett said. 

"We have to get to a point where our resources are more than our expenditures," Haase said. 

The next budget work session will be Monday, August 29th. The final budget will be voted on during the city council's meeting, October 17th.

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