Proposed fiscal 2005 Sunset Hills budget to tap into reserves for second straight year


Staff Reporter

Sunset Hills officials are suggesting def-icit spending for the second straight year, according to a fiscal 2005 budget proposal obtained by the Call, but the city’s reserve fund should more than handle the extra costs.

The Board of Aldermen will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, at City Hall, 3939 S. Lindbergh Blvd., to consider final approval of the budget. The city’s fiscal year begins Jan. 1.

Under the proposal, general fund expenditures at nearly $6.09 million would exceed general revenues, which are estimated to be around $5.7 million, by about $380,000.

At budgeting time last year, the reserve coffer was at $3.9 million and fiscal 2004 spending was expected to exceed revenue by $370,000. Mayor Jim Hobbs expects the reserves to grow next year by around $250,000, bringing the city’s reserve fund back to around $4 million.

But city revenues remain flat under that fiscal 2005 proposal. Officials expect to bring in about $80,000 less than last year, an almost 1 percent difference.

“I think our revenues will come in more than what we budgeted,” Hobbs said. “We try to be really conservative. We’re in pretty good shape compared to our neighbors.”

Compared to the ’04 amended budget, general fund expenditures would be cut by about 2.5 percent from $6.25 million to $6.09 million.

Most departments would get about the same amount as last year with the parks department being the exception.

The budget proposal allocates $598,956 for parks, a roughly 29 percent increase from the $461,023 under the amended ’04 budget.

Other departmental budget suggestions include: $462,738 for administration, down from $489,796; $111,062 for the court, down from $112,668; $155,550 for the pool, up from $136,548; $2.11 million for public safety, nearly the same as this year; $2 million for public works, down from $2.3 million; and non-departmental expenditures would be up to $651,622 from $638,626.

While 2005 projections are lower than the 2004 amended budget, they still are higher than the beginning budget aldermen originally approved for 2004.

Officials also anticipate generating $2.34 million in designated funds, roughly $400,000 less than they propose to spend.

City Clerk Laura Rider was unavailable for comment before the Call’s press time on Monday.