Holts Summit board cites two major budget concerns

Two portions of the Holts Summit annual operating budget raised concern during the Board of Aldermans’ work session meeting on Oct. 28.

The Holts Summit annual operating budget is divided into five main parts: general fund, transportation, sewer, animal control and emergency management. Animal control and emergency management were highlighted as problem areas.

“Both animal control and emergency management are putting a lot of strain on our budget,” City Administrator Brian Crane said.

Put simply, neither division is generating enough money to offset the cost of operation. For animal control, the projected revenue for 2013 was $86,000. So far this year, animal control has generated about $37,000 in revenue.

“We’re hoping to get $5,000 a month until the end of the period,” Crane said.

This period will end in three months, meaning the total revenue generated would be around $60,000 — more than $20,000 short of the projection. As a result, fiscal year 2014 has been projected to generate only about $61,000 in revenue.

“The problem is, animal control just isn’t making money right now,” Crane said.

Alderman Jason Michael, who co-represents Ward I with Sharon Schlueter, asked how the lack of funds could be addressed.

As of now, animal control is funded through tax money and adoptions — but the problem is that money is lost through the adoption process. It costs about $150 to see an animal through the process to be eligible for adoption, but the cost to adopt is $50.

Though the issue wasn’t discussed at length, the reason for the loss is because if the city doesn’t keep the cost of adoption low, it won’t be able to compete with breeders and other pet sellers.

Because the fund doesn’t garner enough money to pay even one employee, the police department responds to calls for animal control 24/7.

The emergency management part of the budget, which covers the maintenance and operation of the city’s five tornado sirens, is in a similar situation. It has generated about $51,000 in revenue, while it was budgeted to generate and reach $80,000.

As a result of the lack of revenue from both sections of the budget, the general fund has absorbed the cost.

Other items discussed at the meeting included additions and renovations to the Municipal Center and the city’s contract with Allied Waste.

The Municipal Center is currently a storm shelter, which has an additional floor and roof added to it. For several years, the city has intended to turn the second floor into a courtroom. The current room used for trials, according to Crane, is not large enough to hold the requisite amount of people.

“We have the designs, it’s time to move forward or at least do it a little bit at a time,” Crane said.

The board also discussed Allied Waste, including the possibility of adding curbside recycling for a fee of about $3 per subscriber and changing the billing system. Allied Waste asked Holts Summit if the city wanted to take over billing of customers from them.

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