The proposed Blue Springs budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, moved another step ahead Wednesday night.

City Manager Eric Johnson summarized the budget’s key points for the City Council and a small group of citizens in attendance: an estimated 2.2 percent increase over the current budget, with no forecasted program reductions and a plan to retain all emergency funds.

The budget allocates an estimated total of $69.67 million, with major priorities including debt reduction, safety, capital improvements and the community development block grant, which aids first-time homebuyers and business retention.

The proposal passed unanimously among council members.

“It’s not easy, and it’s not short-term,” Council Member Susan Culpepper said of the budgeting process. “It’s a real challenge.”

Despite council discussion and support, representation of public opinion fell noticeably absent, as no one spoke in support of or against the budget.

The second and final public reading will take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Howard L. Brown Public Safety Building, 1100 S.W. Smith St. To see the full budget, visit bluespringsgov.com/381/Annual-City-Budget.

Business expansion

Following the budget proposal, the council heard plans for an annexation of approximately six acres south of U.S. 40 and east of S.E. Industrial Drive.

The measure, which council members unanimously passed on a second reading, would bring KC Bobcat, a local construction equipment dealer, to the site in an upgrade from its 2209 S.W. U.S. 40 location. The new facility, if approved, would be 18,000 square feet.

Council Member Fowler acknowledged the benefit of the company remaining in Blue Springs, calling its impact “long-standing.”

“It’s good to see them upgrading and giving back to the city,” Fowler continued.

Jeremy Powell, a representative for the client, said that KC Bobcat had also looked at Grain Valley and other surrounding areas, but that they valued staying in Blue Springs.