Multimedia Journalist

Pink sheets: About 15 percent of budget requests funded in the 2020 Jefferson City budget

Julie Smith/News Tribune
Rookie firefighter training at Hyde Park, learning to use and control nozzle spray on a ladder truck. To the right in the photograph is the burn building and tower, which have been deemed unsafe to use and has been closed to training. Jefferson City Council is trying to find money in the budget to replace this part of the Hyde Park Training Facility.

A tight budget year for Jefferson City resulted in more than a dozen funded budget requests in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget out of more than 130 requests that were submitted by city departments. Unfunded requests included personnel, equipment and vehicles.

The Jefferson City Budget Committee, which is comprised of all 10 council members, approved the $65.1 million budget in August. The City Council gave its stamp of approval in September.

The council approved 21 of the more than 130 submitted pink sheets — city departments’ funding requests — in the FY2020 budget, which begins Nov. 1. The pink sheets were funded through the more than $32.9 million general fund and Capital Improvement Sales Tax G.

In FY2019, departments submitted 150 pink sheets and the budget committee approved funding for 86 requests.

There are often more capital expenditure needs than a budget can accommodate, City Administrator Steve Crowell said.

“The City Council struggled to prioritize the many FY2020 funding demands and requests,” Crowell said. “Particularly in regard to employee compensation, facilities maintenance and vehicle acquisition. The tornado and flood imposed significant funding challenges, not only on this year’s budget FY2019, but also on next year’s budget FY2020.”

Jefferson City Police Department

Replacing vehicles from the Jefferson City Police Department’s aging fleet was a top priority, according to the fund requests and budget discussions.

The department originally submitted 19 funding requests, 13 of which were to purchase replacement police vehicles for approximately $528,190. None of the requests were funded in the FY2020 budget.

The council funded six of the 13 replacement vehicles from the police renovations and upgrades funds in the Capital Improvement Sales Tax G. The six replacement vehicles will cost approximately $243,780.

Police Chief Roger Schroeder said the department was aware this year’s budget process would be difficult.

“While we lowered our level of expectation for success as far as the funding requests, we didn’t refrain from requesting what we felt were legitimate and immediate needs,” Schroeder said. “We also knew, early on, that the City Council was facing significant financial constraints. The future is filled with operations challenges, and we must be prepared to meet those challenges. The City Council was faced with some difficult decisions, and we respect their decisions. We’ll move past what’s already happened, manage the present to the very best of our ability and continue to prepare for the future and out 2020-2021 budget submissions.”

Twenty-one vehicles would need to be replaced by 2021 due to high mileage, Schroeder told the Jefferson City Public Safety Committee in September.

During budget discussions, Schroeder, Ward 4 Councilman Carlos Graham and others mentioned concerns for safety regarding patrol cars approaching more than 140,000 miles.

“Safe vehicles continue a level of safety that your citizens, the people that elect you, have known to love and demand from us,” Jason Ambler, executive vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, previously said. “We want to continue that. As President (Jeremy) Bowman said, when you see a clean vehicle, that is a reflection of the officer; that’s a reflection of their dedication to the job. You cannot give any bearing on how clean a vehicle is on the outside to the direct correlation to the engine, suspension and any vital parts of the car that cause the wear and tear.”

During budget discussions, the department removed a request for a $14,917 radio tower at 4346 Rainbow Drive to improve radio reception in the Ventura Avenue, Del Ray Avenue and Candlelight Drive area.

The department plans to find funding elsewhere, Schroeder previously said.

Other funding requests included three police officer trainees, moving the property room technician to full-time and motorcycle equipment.

The department requested $724,885.95 in pink sheets. The police department’s approved FY2020 budget is more than $10.8 million.

Jefferson City Public Works Department

The eight divisions with Jefferson City Public Works Department submitted 25 pink sheet requests for more than $2.4 million. The budget committee funded seven pink sheet items that totaled more than $1.34 million, according to the FY2020 budget.

The request to replace the Indian Hills pump station for $676,000 was approved. The station was over 40 years old.

The wastewater division requested two replacement ¾-ton pickup truck crew cab 4×4, a replacement RWRF bar screen, a replacement radio telemetry units phase 1, a replacement plant maintenance truck and a replacement jetter truck. The requests were funded in the FY2020 budget.

Pink sheets that were not funded included requests from the street, airport, central maintenance, parking, engineering, transit and administration divisions.

Some requests included $988,000 for vehicles, $61,638 for a new mechanic position and $12,000 for 50 replacement LED street lights.

Department Director Matt Morasch said he is not concerned with this year’s budget. But not funding equipment is not sustainable, he said. Prices of equipment and construction materials continue to increase, he added.

“It’s been a few tough budget years with not a lot of equipment purchases, and our equipment is getting older,” Morasch said.

The equipment is well taken care of by the central maintenance division, ensuring they reach their maximum use, he said.

Having good staff who work with the equipment they have does help in difficult times, he said. About 45-75 percent of each division’s budget is personnel, according to the FY2020 budget.

“We understand the reality of the budget,” Morasch said. “We have to deal with it. It’s not unlike many years. Now, it can’t go on forever.”

The department’s FY2020 budget is more than $23.2 million.

Jefferson City Fire Department

The Jefferson City Fire Department submitted 14 pink sheet requests totaling more than $1.8 million. None of the items were approved in the FY2020 budget.

One of the largest funding requests was $525,000 to replace the Hyde Park burn building.

Fire Chief Matt Schofield said there hasn’t been any funding for improvements to the building in more than 23 years. The fire department previously used the building for hands-on live fire training. The building was evaluated by a structural engineer in August 2017 and deemed “hazardous and non-compliant until repairs can be made or replacement,” according to the pink sheet.

The department has constructed a temporary facility using surplus shipping containers next to the old burn building and drill tower, he said.

“It is only a temporary, stopgap measure,” Schofield said. “Training is essential, and live fire training is a priority to maintain effective and safe operations. We need to develop a permanent solution.”

Other requests from the department included mobile/portable radios, equipment and remodeling of Fire Station No. 4.

The radios are currently shared among firefighters, making it difficult to communicate with local, state or federal partners, he said.

The fire department’s FY2020 budget is more than $7.8 million.

Jefferson City Planning and Protective Services Department

None of the Jefferson City Planning and Protective Services Department’s funding requests were approved in the FY2020 budget.

The department submitted $273,302 worth of pink sheets. The largest pink sheet was $110,000 to increase the demolition funding from $20,000 to $130,000, which was not funded.

The department is spending more than $40,000 on demolitions, Department Director Sonny Sanders said.

“The tornado exasperated the demolitions process,” Sanders said.

Only two of eight city demolitions could be done this year, he added.

Buildings that are not demolished are maintained by city staff, who cut grass, secure the structures and other abatements, he added. Abatement charges are then placed as liens on the property.

Other pink sheet requests included vehicle replacements, code enforcement positions and increase funding for the residential down payment incentive program.

The department is committed to doing “more with less,” Sanders said.

“Everything except salaries got cut right across the top,” he said.

About 82 percent of the budget is personnel services, according to the FY2020 budget.

Planning and protective service’s budget is nearly $2.2 million.

Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department

The Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department’s Outdoor Recreation and the Multipurpose Building divisions received $28,000 to fund five pink sheets.

The Outdoor Recreation Division submitted three pink sheet items, which were approved. Items included canoes, kayaks, oars, paddles, additional ropes course apparatus and new campground reservation software.

The camps were previously using paper reservations, Director Todd Spalding said. The software integrates easily with small campgrounds, according to the pink sheet.

The canoes and kayaks were in poor condition and needed to be replaced for safety, according to the pink sheet.

The additional ropes course apparatus were requested to expand the program and keep it exciting for patrons, according to the pink sheet. In June, the course was opened up for groups and individual rentals. It was previously used for camp only.

The pink sheets totaling $16,000 were funded from the park fund, Spalding said.

The Multipurpose Building Division’s requests indoor futsal goals and electric basketball goal height adjusters were also approved for $12,000.

A request for a $100,000 outdoor fitness court at The Linc and an assisted chin/dip machine for $6,000 were not funded in the approved budget.

Thirty-four other pink sheets totaling more than $1 million were submitted by other park divisions, including $20,000 for a soft service ice cream machine at Memorial Pool, a graphics production coordinator position and replacement equipment at the Washington Park Ice Arena. The park’s FY2020 budget is more than $8.7 million.

Jefferson City Law Department

City Counselor Ryan Moehlman submitted two pink sheet requests totaling $20,167 for the Jefferson City Law Department.

A $15,000 request to hire a special counsel to assist with establishing a city-controlled urban redevelopment corporation under Chapter 353 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri was funded in the FY2020 budget.

“Chapter 353 is primarily an economic development tool and most commonly funding for projects is borne by the developer who is seeking to use the tool,” Moehlman said.

Cities or counties can approve redevelopment plans that provide tax abatements for up to 25 years and those tax incentives can encourage developers to redevelop in blighted areas.

During budget discussions, the $15,000 part-time prosecutor clerk position was added to the pink sheets. The clerk would assist the city prosecutor with court preparation, which were previously unfilled.

The department also submitted a $5,167 pink sheet to hire a summer law clerk. The request was not funded in the FY2020 budget.

The department’s approved budget is more than $337,000.

Jefferson City Human Resources Department

The FY2020 budget funded one of seven pink sheets for the Jefferson City Human Resources Department. The funded request was for $180,981.

During budget discussions, Ward 5 Councilman Jon Hensley encouraged the committee to continue funding the citywide internship program. The FY2019 budget included $32,800 for the program, but the city did not anticipate using the remaining $22,000 of the funds.

Human Resources Director Gail Strope said the city has offered the program for more than 10 years. The FY2020 budget includes $21,530 for the program.

College juniors and seniors who major in fields related to any position within the city may apply for the summer program, she said.

“By the end of the summer, they have a lot of experience in their field and broad knowledge of the organization as a whole,” Strope said.

Other pink sheet requests that were not funded included a human resources assistant position, marketing funds, an updated appraisal system and more totaling $159,451. The department’s FY2020 budget is more than $340,000.

Jefferson City Finance Department

The Jefferson City Finance Committee submitted $103,000 worth of pink sheets. None of the requests were funded in the FY2020 budget.

The requests included upgrading the city’s nine-year-old email system and computers for $87,000 and an enterprise agreement to improve MidMOGIS.

Finance and IT Director Margie Mueller said the city does not have a backup plan for the unfunded pink sheets.

The department’s budget for FY2020 is more than $957,300.

The Jefferson City clerk did not submit pink sheet requests. The department’s FY2020 budget is over $95,000.

The city administrator, mayor and council did not submit pink sheet requests.

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