By Erin Achenbach
The city of Green Park is starting 2019 with a $238,651 surplus budget after coming in under budget by more than $1.1 million last year.
The Board of Aldermen passed the city’s $2.4 million 2019 budget unanimously Dec. 17.
The city ended 2018 with a $3,667,527 total ending balance — a $1,189,550 difference compared to its original 2018 budgeted ending balance of $2,477,977. This is due in part to fewer expenditures than the city originally estimated for 2018.
The city also earned an additional $40,212 in 2018 that was not originally budgeted for from miscellaneous things such as class-action lawsuits the city participated in. Among the lower-than-expected expenditures, the city spent $67,055 on legal fees compared to the $125,000 initially budgeted.
The Green Park Road Project also cost significantly less than originally planned for during 2018— $1.4 million was budgeted for the project, but the city only spent $571,887.
The budgeted amounts for the road project were based on the federal grant award the city received. The remainder of the $1.4 million grant has been budgeted for finishing the road project in 2019, at $828,113. City Administrator James Mello anticipates that the road project will ultimately come in slightly under budget when it is completed this year.
The city is expected to have a $2.7 million total ending balance in 2019, after an expected $2.4 million in total expenditures and $2.7 million in total revenue.
“There’s not too many significant changes between the 2018 budget and the 2019 budget,” Mello said at the meeting.
Some significant differences between the 2018 and 2019 budgets include more for city employee wages, special events, publication of legal notices and postage.
The city expects to spend $134,600 more on salaries in 2019, an increase of $14,600. This is due in part to Green Park hiring a third worker at $20 an hour.
The part-time code-enforcement officer works about 16 hours a week.
Administrative wages are a “moving target” in the budget since part-time workers are hourly and subject to overtime pay. All full-time city staff, Mello and Diane DeLonjay, received a 4-percent raise.
The city budgeted spending $3,500 on postage in 2019, a $2,000 increase from the original 2018 budget. Annexation efforts have increased postage due to the city mailing residences and those living in the potential annexation area information about the annexation.
In 2018, the city budgeted $95,000 for building maintenance but only spent $37,000. Similarly, $70,000 has been budgeted for 2019 maintenance, but Mello does not expect all that money to be spent.
The city is looking to take care of some priorities in 2019 that they first identified last year, which includes sandblasting and repainting the back of Green Park City Hall, as well as roof repairs and some other large budget items that may come up. Mello expects new flooring for the Community Room, door frame and door replacements, a centralized server for City Hall and other projects to take precedence before the sandblasting, but the projects identified last year will be addressed in the next three to five years.
Because the city converted a majority of City Hall’s light bulbs to LED bulbs — which includes the entire building, not just the suites occupied by the city — Green Park expects to save money on electricity in 2019 with $2,000 budgeted for the year, compared to the $4,700 spent in 2018. Mello said that payback on the LED bulbs could be as little as two to three years and reduce the building’s overall energy usage.
Green Park also entered into a salt co-op with various other St. Louis County municipalities. The co-op, overseen by Chesterfield, will save $8,000.
As for revenue, the city expects an additional $5,000 a year from the gasoline tax, with a total $75,000 from that revenue stream. Although gas prices are trending down, the gasoline tax is assessed on a per gallon basis and with lower fuel prices, more gallons are being purchased leading to higher revenue.
The city also expects to bring in $105,000 in utility taxes, a $2,000 increase.