Close Window
Print Window
Return to Main News Page

In the News

CITY COUNCIL MEETING 03/27/17 (Budget, Annual Contracts, General Fund, Staff Hire / Promotion, Clay Street Park, Liquor License, Collective Bargaining)

City OKs $13.8M Budget
03/29/17 C-T
By CATHERINE STORTZ RIPLEY

Chillicothe City Council members unanimously approved the city's 2017-18 fiscal budget following a public hearing Monday evening at City Hall. The overall budget calls for estimated revenues of $13,875,381 to support estimated expenditures of $13,769,974. The budget includes a 2 percent pay raise for city employees. The city's general sales tax is projected to generate $1,243,557 during the next 12 months, slightly over the 2016-17 budget of $1,154,732 and the 2015-16 actual collection of $1,141,164. In approving the city's budget, the council also approved the budget of the city-owned Chillicothe Municipal Utilities. CMU's budget projects operating revenues and other income in the amount of $15,176,803 and operating expenses at $14,614,750, which includes a 4 percent cost of living increase for CMU employees. The city's fiscal year begins April 1.

Shortly after passing the budget Monday evening, the council unanimously approved all of the annual ordinances and contracts as presented: YMCA ($14,500), Livingston County Humane Society ($6,025 monthly, plus cat and dog license fees with adoption fees and animal control fines received by the city), Summer Playground Association ($13,000), Main Street Chillicothe ($30,000), Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce ($5,300), Chillicothe Area Arts Council ($2,000), University of Missouri Extension Center ($5,000), and OATS public transportation service ($10,000). The dollar amount and scope of services for each of these contracts is the same as last year's approved contract amount. The budget includes the following fund amounts:

General Fund $6,996,358
Police Education 1,250
Park Fund 598,935
Street Fund 1,211,052
Permanent Street Fund 836,381
Capital Improvement Fund 1,914,500 Mo.
North Central Railroad 39,500
Fire Department Equipment Tax 271,928
Golf Course 289,304
Tax Increment Financing 956,480
Airport State Block Grant 200,000
Revolving Loan Funds 43,000 911
Dispatch 411,286
Total All Funds 13,769,974

The council on Monday also passed an ordinance regarding a contract with Adam Warren for prosecuting services (ordinance and nuisance enforcement) and with Rumery and Associates for economic development services. Warren, who also serves as the Livingston County prosecuting attorney, has contracted with the city for the last six years with no changes in the terms, conditions and compensation in his contract. This year, he requested and was granted a $1,000 (approximately 3 percent) increase to cover a pay raise for his office staff and increased office expenses. The contract amount is $37,600 per year, with the contract to extend through his term as Livingston County prosecuting attorney, December 31, 2018. Warren stated that the number of prosecutions are down, compared to previous years. This is due, in part, to legislators capping the maximum fine on traffic offenses at $225, rather than the previous $300, and an increase of felonies, Warren stated. "When I started being prosecutor we probably had around 160 to 165 felonies," Warren told the council. "Last year, I processed around 210." The city traditionally contracts for legal counsel and prosecutorial services.

The contract with Rumery & Associates is for $36,000 and will be split equally among the city, FEC Development, Inc., Chillicothe Development Corporation, and Chillicothe Municipal Utilities.

Mayor Chuck Haney presided over Monday night's meeting. All council members but Councilman-at-Large David Moore were present.

Resolution Allocates 70 Percent of Sales Tax to General Fund
C-T 03/29/17
Chillicothe City Council members put into place a plan for annually reviewing what percentage of revenues collected through a one-cent sales tax will be put into the General Fund and how much will be allocated for the Street Fund. Council members passed a resolution Monday evening establishing the allocation of its one-cent city sales tax revenue, with 70 percent going to the city's General Fund and 30 percent going to the city's Street Fund. The city began collecting this special one-cent sales tax in 1977. In 2001, the council passed a resolution dedicating 50 percent of the tax to the General Fund, 15 percent to Public Safety, and 35 percent to the Street Improvement, Maintenance and Repair Fund. Most recently, the city had allocated 65 percent to the General Fund and 35 percent to the Street Fund. During the budget process this year, the council decided to change the amount from 65 percent to 70 percent for the General Fund in order to provide raises for city employees. The reduced revenue for the street fund through this reallocation will be more than covered through the use tax, which is anticipated to generate $306,000 during the 2017-18 fiscal year, according to City Auditor Theresa Kelly. The resolution is to be reviewed annually. Second Ward Councilman Wayne Cunningham expressed concern about reducing the percentage of the sales tax revenues set aside for streets. "I'm not denying that the need or necessity is there," Cunningham said. "What worries me is that if we're doing it this year, what are we going to do next year? I would feel really bad if we came back next year and we knocked this Street Fund down to 25 percent. I am worried about the future." "I will be very disappointed if some of my constituents don't get some of their storm drains put in because we have cut this budget," he added. Auditor Kelly stated that the 65 percent figure was put in place when that amount of funds was needed for the streets. "In the past we decided the Street Fund desperately needed it and we could get by," Kelly stated. "Now, the Street Fund has another revenue source and the General Fund is losing its revenue sources... we've been able to survive on the General Fund with 65 percent until this year."

Administrative Assistant Hired, Street Promotion Approved - The Chillicothe City Council approved the employment of a new administrative assistant and promoted a longtime employee in the street department to the rank of assistant superintendent in executive session Monday night following the regular meeting.

Heather Gates was recommended by Clerk Roze Frampton to the members of the city council for the position of administrative assistant to the city clerk, mayor, and city administrator. Gates was among the three finalists of more than 40 applications for the position and was unanimously approved by four members of the city council (Councilman-at-Large David Moore was not present for Monday night's session). Gates has been working at Hedrick Family Care at HMC in a part-time position and prior to that was employed by the Constitution-Tribune as bookkeeper and HR person. She had also spent 11 years at Investors Community Bank. She replaces Tammy Midgyett who recently resigned the same city position to accept a job with the PATCH program at Chillicothe Correctional Center.

Jeff Gillespie, a 16-year veteran of the Chillicothe Street Department, has been promoted to assistant street superintendent following the recommendation by Street Commissioner Barry Arthur and a unanimous 4-0 vote by members of the city council. Gillespie has been serving as a foreman for the street department for the past eight years. Gillespie fills the vacancy of assistant street commissioner that had been vacant for nearly a year following the retirement of Leroy Snidow. Gillespie will begin his new duties, effective April 1, 2017.

A Chillicothe resident who lives adjacent to Clay Street Park is interested in acquiring a portion of the park property that is not used by the park. City Administrator Ike Holland recommended that the city consider selling the property, noting that the city does not utilize it. The issue was among several topics discussed during the city council's regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. Archie Hasler, 530 Sunset, told council members that the property is at the far west end of Clay Street Park and is separated by a creek running through it, north to south. He said that if he owned that section of property he would maintain it and control some of the brush and erosion. The city plans to review the original deed of the property and look into whether the park has certain restrictions on the property that could prohibit its sale.

Also Monday, the council approved an ordinance amending the 2016-17 budget. The largest dollar amount reflected on the amended budget was an increase of $300,000 in the General Fund to reflect the sale of property that was not originally budgeted, and the increase in ambulance services.

The council on Monday also approved an ordinance adopting provisions for collective bargaining with police. Passage of the ordinance was recommended by City Attorney Robert Cowherd as a first step for the city to take before an election could be held to determine whether the non-managerial employees wish to organize as a bargaining unit.

In other discussions Monday evening, the council turned down a proposal for the city-owned Green Hills Golf Course to serve liquor by the drink. The council members said they based their decision on input from their constituents as well as costs that would be involved in employing someone old enough to sell and serve the liquor, as well as results of a survey conducted by GreatLife Kansas City, the company which is managing the golf course. Golfers surveyed were asked whether selling liquor by the drink would improve their experience at the golf course. Four said "Yes" and 21 said "No." Golfers were also asked whether selling liquor by the drink would have a negative effect on their experience at the golf course. Sixteen said "Yes" and nine said "No." Dave Mapel, general manager of Green Hills Golf Course, stated that there had never been a demand for hard liquor to be sold. He also stated that only employees who are 21 years of age and older may sell and serve mixed drinks. "If we adopt this practice," he said, "I will have to fire all of my workers but two - and they have full-time jobs." He also noted that the four golfers who said that selling liquor by the drink would improve their experience were out-of-town golfers who are at the course three days a year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

The proposed budgets for the city of Chillicothe and Chillicothe Municipal Utilities will be presented tonight during a public hearing that will be part of the regular city council meeting. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall and is open to the public. Prior to the hearing, City Auditor Theresa Kelly will present an ordinance amending the 2016-17 budget. Following the hearing, the council will consider annual ordinances and contracts with the following entities: YMCA, Livingston County Humane Society, Summer Playground Association, Main Street Chillicothe, Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce, Chillicothe Area Arts Council, University of Missouri Extension Center, and OATS. The council will also consider an ordinance regarding a contract with Livingston County Prosecuting Attorney Adam Warren, for prosecuting services and an ordinance regarding an agreement with Rumery and Associates. Attorney Robert Cowherd, who is the city's contracted legal counsel, will discuss adopting provisions for collective bargaining with the police. Time is set aside for an executive session, closed to the public, for discussion of litigation, real estate, contracts and/or personnel. A workshop meeting to discuss city finances and a Main Street Chillicothe Preservation Ordinance will be at 5:30 p.m. in the conference room at City Hall. The workshop is open to the public.

Return to Top

Close Window
Return to Home Page