SIKESTON -- City employees will get their raise beginning in July.
City Council members approved the city's annual operating budget for Fiscal Year 2008 during a special meeting Monday.
The budget for the fiscal year, which begins July 1 and will run through June 30, 2008, projects $12,011,839 in revenues and appropriates $12,464,977 in total expenditures.
"According to City Clerk Carroll Couch, total reserves were $5,817,453.79 as of May 31," said Linda Lowes, director of governmental services for the city.
A total of $8.9 million in expenditures were budgeted from the general fund and $1.54 million from the transportation sales tax will go to fund street improvements, repairs and all the items associated with the street program, according to Lowes.
The budget reflects the Council's direction to fulfill promises made to voters when they were asked to approve the city's 1-cent sales tax even though actual revenues from the sales tax have not reached the levels used in the spending plan presented to voters.
One of the three promises was to adequately fund the Department of Public Safety.
"Total funding for Sikeston Public Safety is $6,153,734," Lowes said. "For FY-08, funding was approved for the purchase of five new and four used police pursuit vehicles. The purchase of a rescue pumper in FY-07 completed the replacement of fire division's fleet with new state-of-the-art vehicles and equipment. The rescue pumper's $575,000 note was financed over eight and a half years with $75,000 annual payments."
The budget also follows through with the promise to fund the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority.
"To date, the LCRA has received $1 million from the city," Lowes said. "The FY-08 budget appropriates another half million to fulfill Council's pledge of $1.5 million as the initial funding."
As for the third promise -- funding an expansion of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center -- the budget also includes another payment toward retiring the loan which funded the construction of the SAHEC expansion.
The city originally financed $1.5 million for the expansion, according to Lowes, and scheduled annual payments of $300,000 for 10 years.
"That started in 2006 so we have already paid $300,000," Lowes said.
The bill establishing employee staffing and compensation levels for FY-08, which includes a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for all city employees as well as an increase in starting salaries to maintain a competitive edge in hiring, was also approved by the Council.
The bill establishes a total staffing level of 124 full time and seven part time employees, a decrease of three full-time positions from the current fiscal year.
"Out of 124 full-time employees, 83 are public safety personnel which reaffirms council's commitment to fund and staff public safety," Lowes said. This includes three public safety officers that are being funded by the Sikeston Housing Authority, according to Lowes.
Also approved during Monday's meeting was a resolution which will accompany the city's application for assistance through the state's "Dream" Initiative.
According to city staff, the initiative will provide six to 10 communities in the state with technical assistance over a three-year period to help them obtain incentive packages through several state programs.
Financial assistance noted in the resolution reflects a $10,000 funding commitment made jointly by the Board of Municipal Utilities and the city as well as another $140,800 for in-kind labor, materials and construction associated with a Missouri Highway Transportation Grant application for downtown.