Council ‘kicks off’ budget process
The Marshalltown City Council was presented the first draft of its Capital Improvement Plan for the next fiscal year during a meeting on Monday.
It was the first council meeting in about two months where a majority of the members were in person. All council members, staff and attendees were masked and socially distanced.
City Administrator Jessica Kinser gave the council an overview which will be revisited during the next meeting on Jan. 25.
“This officially kicks off the budget process,” Kinser said. “It does appear our number here is very close for revenue but needs to be reduced slightly. That does impact things.”
The city is projected to have a borrowing need of more than $5.6 million for projects in fiscal year 2022. The largest projects figured into that amount are $3 million for street improvements and $1 million toward the downtown implementation plan.
There is $115,000 from the current year’s fund being put toward next fiscal year for a mobile services outreach unit for the Marshalltown Public Library. There are still tentative plans for an addition to the library but those discussions have been pushed to the furthest fiscal year — 2025 — Kinser noted.
“It’s still there but we’re not actively talking about it and the library is looking at different ways that it can still provide services to the community in a more efficient way given our current environment,” she said.
Parks and Recreation’s big project for next year will be improvements to Elks Park budgeted at $110,000. Peterson Park is slated for improvements the following year.
The city will make efforts toward disaster resiliency with the purchase of generators for the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and library. A FEMA grant application has been submitted for the Coliseum’s generator.
Kinser said Public Works will conservatively need about $3 million for street improvements. Kinser noted some of the figures in this budget act as placeholders. As the time nears to make decisions on various projects there will be options which cause the overall costs to vary.
“One of the strategies that I would like to employ in the process of budget is to really not make any final decisions on this list. We’ll still have to talk about debt capacity and what that looks like,” she said.
The Water Pollution Control Plant has more than $2 million in projects and improvements scheduled for the upcoming fiscal year including a $1.2 million clarifier rehabilitation project which will extend the usable life of one of the water clarifiers.
Developing the first draft of the budget was a collaborative effort between department heads, Kinser said. In the last week during a meeting between department heads, they were faced with trying to reduce $75,000 from the budget.
“Quite frankly I had volunteers. Chief Tupper volunteered before we even had the meeting with some areas that could be reduced out,” Kinser said. “What I hope you all realize is there is a great team that’s working together on this budget process from beginning to end. We’re resolving our own differences.”
In other business:
A resolution to transfer property north of Anson Park to the Marshalltown Community School District failed to pass. The six council members present split the vote 3-3. Gabe Isom, Raymond Starks and Gary Thompson were the ‘No’ votes. Councilman Mike Gowdy was not in attendance. The property is located on the edge of the softball park at Anson Park.
“This is a part of a park that’s named after the city’s founder, Henry Anson,” Thompson said. “We’re going to redo the shelter house. We’re putting more money into this park. I just can’t see giving away a softball diamond. We’ve already lost one. As much as I’d like to see progress and change I just can’t stand by and watch history be destroyed in this town.”
Contact Joe Fisher at 641-753-6611 or email@example.com