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New Joplin Budget Method Identifies $6 Million With No or Little - KOAM TV 7

New Joplin Budget Method Identifies $6 Million With No or Little Direct Impact to Community

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Joplin, MO -

Joplin city officials further explain a new type of budget the City is using after some residents say they're confused over lack of details.  Joplin's city manager says priority based budgeting is meant to pinpoint if taxpayer dollars are being used most efficiently.

Berle Peacock has a big concern with Joplin's budget.

"I don't know what they're doing for the schools," says Peacock.

Peacock is looking over a bar graph that the City posted on social media.  $39 million is going towards making Joplin "attractive" with "diverse neighborhoods" and "quality schools."  Peacock wants more detail.

"If they're wanting people to know what's going on, they need specifics," says Peacock.

Jeremy Thompson wrote on Facebook, "Post something a lot more specific and we'll talk."

"I thought the bar graph that we shared on our social media page was a good, quick snapshot to say, here's how we're spending some of your dollars," says Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm.

Anselm says the bar graph is just an example of how the new priority based budget system the City is using can give simple breakdowns.  City workers have been preparing for this new type of budget for the past year and a half.  

Here's what it comes down to:  Instead of only knowing it takes "a certain amount" of money each month or year to run each of the City's 1,600 programs...

"I couldn't tell you how much we spent plowing snow and deicing roads," says Anselm.

...City workers have been documenting how much time it takes to do something, along with what products are needed.

"I can now tell residents we spent $155,000 a year plowing snow and deicing roads," says Anselm.

Anselm says an outside company has been number-crunching all of this new data the City has been collecting.

"92 percent of the costs of doing business as the City of Joplin are spent on direct programs that benefit residents of the community.  Only about eight percent of the costs go towards administrative things," says Anselm.

There's one exception:  Anselm says new data shows $6 million in the City's budget have little or no direct impact on the community.  That money could be used differently.

"The street in front of my house hasn't had anything done to it.  I think it's time," says Peacock.

...That specific request from Peacock could soon be included with more specifics in the City's budget that Anselm says will come after more data analysis.

Anselm says ways to better use the $6 million will be discussed among City officials and perhaps during open meetings with residents.  Click here for more information on the City's new budget method.

The data analysis company partnering with Joplin for this budget also handles the budgets of 150 other cities, though Joplin and Branson are the company's only Missouri cities.

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