The Blue Springs City Council has adopted the fiscal year 2017-18 budget and capital improvements plan, which takes effect Oct. 1. It totals $68,336,425.
The originally proposed budget was $30,000 less. During its Sept. 6 meeting, the council voted to add that amount to the Human Resources Department for hiring a consultant to help the city develop a compensation step-plan system. The budget won final, unanimous approval Monday.
The budget is up more than 3.5 percent from the 2016-17 fiscal year. City employees are budgeted for 2 percent raises in April 2018, though the city is cutting the equivalent of 3.65 full-time employees, leaving 318.64 FTEs, almost half of which are in public safety. Like many other cities, Blue Springs has been dealing with flat-lining sales tax revenues and lower utility franchise fees, among other constraints.
As had been planned, the recycling center in Pink Hill Park will close due to rising costs – an average of $12,000 the last few years to what would have been about $100,000 this year, according to the city. The recycling center will close a 4 p.m., Oct. 1.
Some council members expressed interest in keeping a possible re-opening on the table, and Mayor Carson Ross encouraged citizens to work with the Solid Waste Commission to put together a sustainable solution that the council could consider later.
“I'm not looking for a band-aid solution,” Ross said.
Also as planned, the city is cutting its support for bus service with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority from $125,000 to $50,000. KCATA has run four commuter buses each morning, afternoon and evening to downtown Kansas City. That organization says the first morning and afternoon trips will be cut. Ross said ridership for the buses has reduced to levels similar to pre-recession 2008.
The budget includes $6.1 million for the planned City Hall renovation; $2.85 million for construction on Northeast Roanoke Drive from Adams Dairy Parkway east to Northeast Porter Road; and the first projects in the five-year plan for deferred parks maintenance, made possible by the voter-approved sales tax.
During the Sept. 6 meeting, the council considered motions to transfer bus service money toward the recycling center, and to delay the City Hall renovation until next year and leave the funds in the budget, but both motions failed by 4-3 votes.