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Cape city council OKs $54.1 million budget, increasing trash, water, sewer rates

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For most of the last three months, making Cape Girardeau's city budget balance in the coming year has dominated the news coming out of city hall.

On Monday night, when the final vote came on the $54.1 million spending plan, there was little left to say. The council approved the spending plan almost without comment, making only one small adjustment. Following a discussion in their work session, and after eliminating a proposed $10 minimum fee for people using the solid waste transfer station, the budget was approved as presented by interim city manager Ken Eftink and finance director John Richbourg.

To balance the budget, which projects a general fund surplus of about $279,000, the city sought cuts of up to 3 percent in every department. The spending plan for the year that begins July 1 also provides no raises to most city employees for the second year in a row and allows seven jobs, including two police officer positions, to remain unfilled.

With sales tax revenue down about 1.4 percent for the first 11 months of this year, a loss of about $113,000, the city needed to find money to maintain services. Overall, Richbourg had estimated that he needed to cover a $661,000 shortfall in the upcoming year. Finding money to replenish the city's depleted operating reserves was also a priority.

The steps taken to find that money include increasing the fees on water, sewer and trash service. Rates for water service will increase 5 percent, while the increase for trash pickup will be 2 percent. The average bill for residential water, sewer and trash service will increase $1.95 to $50.80 per month. The average bill for commercial water and sewer service will increase by $6.87 to $144.28 per month.

Those extra charges will help support $425,000 in transfers to the general fund. One transfer will assign $139,000 in costs for the city manager and finance department to the water and sewer funds. Another change will be a payment of $286,000 to the general fund in place of adding sales taxes on water and sewer service.

Many of the cuts that helped make the spending plan balance were small, including dropping a Sam's Club membership for a savings of $15 or eliminating breakfast at the annual council retreat for a savings of $65. Others were more significant, such as charging Downtown Cape funding of $30,000 to the more robust Convention and Visitor's Bureau Fund, or visible, such as eliminating the city employee Christmas party for a savings of $2,500.

In all, a set of cuts proposed in April will save the city $495,000 in all funds and $372,000 in the general fund.

Richbourg has warned the council that if rental payments from Commander Premier, an aircraft company that has missed most of its required lease payments since arriving in 2005, are not received, the budget will need to be revisited. Commander Premier owes the city $383,000 in back rent and is scheduled to pay $213,000 in the coming year.

City officials said last week they will be meeting with a potential buyer of the aircraft company within a few weeks to discuss the back rent.

rkeller@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent Address:

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.


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"Many of the cuts that helped make the spending plan balance were small, including dropping a Sam's Club membership for a savings of $15 or eliminating breakfast at the annual council retreat for a savings of $65. Others were more significant, such as charging Downtown Cape funding of $30,000 to the more robust Convention and Visitor's Bureau Fund, or visible, such as eliminating the city employee Christmas party for a savings of $2,500.

In all, a set of cuts proposed in April will save the city $495,000 in all funds and $372,000 in the general fund."

Ok...so the cuts reflected in the first paragraph no where NEAR add up to $495,000 and $372,000> Please...give us a detailed list of these cuts. ALL OF THEM. BTW, Get that money from Grand Premier yet??

-- Posted by Megalomania on Tue, Jun 16, 2009, at 1:30 AM

Richbourg has warned the council that if rental payments from Commander Premier, an aircraft company that has missed most of its required lease payments since arriving in 2005, are not received, the budget will need to be revisited.

Might as well put that meeting in your calender.

Again the question needs to be asked, if Mr. Banker loaned money to someone who missed payments for the last YEAR AND A HALF would they still be in possession of the property? I think we all know the answer to this question. If you don't know the answer go down and take out a loan, miss the payments and report back the results.

-- Posted by gman on Tue, Jun 16, 2009, at 6:15 AM

Just read on another web site that Paducah Power has disconnected power to the Executive Inn for NON PAYMENT. Hmmm maybe some ought to take notes on this article on how to take care of business that don't pay. It can be found at www.kfvs12.com/Global/story.asp?S=105362...

-- Posted by gman on Tue, Jun 16, 2009, at 6:24 AM

Why is the city still counting on money coming from Premier? Otherwise, wise choices on the cutbacks like the christmas party. However, I do believe more cuts can be made: 1) are there city owned cell phones? 2) can we cut back on city police? 3) Are there any capital improvement projects (eg: waterslide) included that can be cut? 4) Can we sell the airport? $54 million still seems a bit excessive for a town the size of Cape. I would rather see more cutbacks made instead of freezing salaries. I would also like to see more cutbacks made so that the city can afford to take over some of the dilapidated properties and tear those buildings down. The water/sewer/trash is now higher than most larger cities in MO, but those larger cities have been told to expect sewer to quadruple within the next few years so that's not a huge concern. These are tough times. The city needs to expect 1) further decline in sales revenue as unemployment continues to climb; 2) lack of payment from Premier

-- Posted by Beaker on Tue, Jun 16, 2009, at 9:09 AM

"The average bill for residential water, sewer and trash service will increase $1.95 to $50.80 per month. The average bill for commercial water and sewer service will increase by $6.87 to $144.28 per month."

Cut and paste is great isn't it? Unless you cut and paste the same errors over and over. Come on Southeast Missourian, Have a little pride in the job you do and the product you produce.

Ask any 5th grader what "average" means when dealing with money and see what you get. I'd venture to say none would tell you it's two numbers, with one being 20 or 25 times greater than the other.

How much will the average residential bill increase? = should be one answer.

How much will the average commercial bill increase? = should be one answer.

If city officials are blowing smoke and providing b.s. answers, or they don't have a clue (which is likely the case) then report it as such.

-- Posted by malan on Tue, Jun 16, 2009, at 10:08 AM

Soooo....

the economy is sliding downhill, people are losing jobs....but rates are going up?

That makes sense, let's just break more peoples' backs and take more money.

What's gonna be done with that surplus anyway? I can tell you, even MORE parking lots for SEMO! You think Broadway's bad? Say goodbye to Independence Street soon after.

Pathetic.

-- Posted by xXAngelicEvilXx on Tue, Jun 16, 2009, at 3:14 PM


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