ARPA funds will be used for some of the city’s capital improvement projects

The proposed budget for Sunset Hills 2022 projects a deficit of $ 1.5 million. The board of directors will give its final approval to the budget on December 14th.

The proposed general fund budget projects total revenues of $ 7.94 million, with planned spending of $ 9.45 million, representing a deficit of $ 1.5 million.

Final approval of the city’s 2022 budget will be considered when the council of aldermen meet on December 14.

“Loss spending is assumed in all accounts for a variety of reasons. First, grants and donations from previous fiscal years are now allocated. … In addition, we have scheduled project completion and capital purchases, things that have been put on hold due to budget cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ”city administrator Brittany Gillett said during the budget’s first reading on November 9. “The fund balance figures for fiscal year 2022 should still be very healthy. “

The budget provides for a total of more than $ 10 million in year-end reserves.

For 2022, the Capital Improvement Fund forecasts expenditures of $ 1.57 million with anticipated revenues of $ 1.31 million, or a deficit of $ 409,501. With an opening balance of $ 835,645, the capital improvement fund is expected to end next year with a balance of $ 426,064.

Almost half of the city’s spending – 47.3 percent – is earmarked for salaries and benefits, while 27 percent is allocated to capital projects and equipment, and 8 percent to construction services. the debt. The remaining expenses are used for building maintenance, professional services, supplies and similar expenses.

The majority of the city’s revenue comes from sales tax and use tax at 48%, followed by utility taxes at 14%.

Last April, Sunset Hills voters voted to implement a use tax in the city, which imposes a tax at the same rate as the city’s sales tax, 1.25%, on purchases from out-of-state businesses on taxable items. The state of Missouri also passed a Wayfair bill this year, which allows state and local jurisdictions to collect a user tax. To be eligible for the use tax revenue of the Wayfair legislation, Sunset Hills had to have its own use tax legislation on the books.

“I want to thank the residents of Sunset Hills for passing the user tax because if we didn’t have it in place we wouldn’t be receiving the Wayfair Act monies that we will receive in 2023,” said Mayor Pat Fribis on November 9. “Thank you to residents for voting, believing in us and pushing through the user tax. “

The city’s other major revenue drivers include service charges at 10 percent and licenses and permits at 8 percent. Property taxes bring in about 2% of the city’s income.

“We are starting to see sales tax revenues return to pre-COVID levels. Utility taxes are heavily based on weather conditions. The phone tax has gone down as people turn off their landlines, ”said Gillett. “Other sources of income remain stable in addition to the income from the practice… which exceeds all expectations. We expect to see a slight increase in revenue as the user tax was implemented in July of this year and the Wayfair bill will finally take place in 2023. “

Other 2022 budget highlights include a full parks and recreation budget for the first time in two years, and full city-wide services. With the help of federal funding, like funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, the city can complete several projects that were put on hold in March 2020, such as upgrading cybersecurity and equipping homes. Alderman rooms with audiovisual equipment to record and broadcast live meetings.

No new positions are being offered and staff increases have been postponed to July.

The city also has several capital projects in place in 2022 and beyond, with the help of funding from ARPA. The aldermen carried out a first reading of the five-year plan to improve the city’s fixed assets in parallel with the first reading of the 2022 budget.

Some of the capital improvement projects planned for 2022 include the reconfiguration of the entrance to the town hall and the addition of audiovisual equipment in the room computers for $ 140,000. This project would be funded by ARPA.

Other capital projects funded by ARPA in 2022 include $ 70,000 for storm water intake grids and $ 30,000 for Kennerly and Gravois road improvements.

So far, the city has received $ 852,241, half of its planned ARPA funds, with the remaining $ 852,241 coming in mid-2022.

During the first reading of the capital projects plan, on November 9, the alderman of Ward 3, Randy Epperson, proposed to move phase 2 of the repair of the parking lot at the town hall from 2024 to 2023. The project will be financed from ARPA funds. $ 250,000.

“I was driving around the City Hall campus the other day and noticed that there were about two parts on this campus… and after doing a little research… the streets on the service side police… haven’t been serviced since they were built 21 years ago, ”Epperson said. “They’ve seen better days. … Realistically we could easily move this (project) to 2023 and finish them and I think they can obviously last another year, but I think it’s a reflection on the city. They certainly had their life expectancy and their money over the 21 years, soon 22. ”

Daues asked why Public Works hadn’t offered to redo this side of the City Hall campus earlier and why it took a city councilor to propose it.

Public Works Director Bryson Baker said the city wanted to follow up after the first phase of the project, but budget constraints forced the city to launch the project ‘on the road’ and prioritize streets and streets. residential needs.

Epperson’s motion was carried unanimously.