JOPLIN, MO.--- Joplin Financial Director Leslie Haase says this budget was one of the hardest budgets she's worked on at the city. Haase says the city's expenses are out-pacing its revenues, so there's not a lot of capital replacement from the general fund and no raises for city employees. The city's expenses are higher than its revenues at this point.
"The major story in this budget is that it's the continuation of doing the infrastructure related to the grants that we received after the tornado," said Leslie Haase, Joplin Financial Director.
The city needs to vote on a budget by the last council meeting in October.
Also at the meeting, the city has set the 2015 property tax for the city and the Joplin library. The library's rate will stay the same at 25.45 cents. The city's rate will increase slightly from just over 16 cents to just over 17 cents. This represents if you have a $100,000 home, about a 74 cent increase a year on $100,000 asset value. Haase says the City of Joplin can only increase property tax for two reasons, new construction and a rate set by state auditors.
"If we don't take that increase, then we're seeing as taking a voluntary rollback and we can't come out of that rollback for two years. So it's important that we keep up with what the state auditors says our rate should be," said Leslie Haase, Joplin Financial Director.
Also at the meeting, the council approved a contract with a company for over $880 million for the Lone Elm Interceptor Sewer Improvements Project. This will improve some of the sewer lines in the city that need to be fixed. The council also approved a contract with a construction company for over $3.3 million for phase two of the Shoal Creek Wastewater Treatment Expansion.
"What we're doing is expanding the plant so that we can handle a lot more suspended solids," said Lynden Lawson, Asst. Public Works Director.
Phase two of this project is expected to be completed by October 2015.