Mexico closer to adopting new FY budget

By Alan Dale Managing Editor
Posted 12/31/69

All the Ts have been crossed and Is dotted and the City of Mexico budget for fiscal year 2022-23 is ready for prime time.

According to City Manager Bruce Slagle, the proposed budget – …

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Mexico closer to adopting new FY budget

Posted

All the Ts have been crossed and Is dotted and the City of Mexico budget for fiscal year 2022-23 is ready for prime time.

According to City Manager Bruce Slagle, the proposed budget – beginning October 1 and runs through September 30, 2023 – is balanced and set at approximately $26.7 million.
 
“There are a lot of numbers to go through and those meetings can be a bit (redundant),” Slagle said. “The primary purpose is to execute a financial plan to accomplish the city’s goals for the upcoming year. We are transitioning from a pandemic to an (end of the pandemic), at least we hope we are. There are some lingering effects that we are still seeing such as supply chain issues, high fuel prices, labor shortages and inflation. All of that stuff we have to take into consideration as we prepare this budget.”
 
Slagle said the city continues to look at other resources to assist with in financial pursuits, such as donations and grants.
 
Each fund operates organically on a separate scale from everything else as pieces of the big picture.
 
“We have seen a nearly 9 percent increase in the last year alone which affects some of the things we are doing,” he said. “We were fortunate that some of our revenues, such as our property valuation, sales tax and gross receipts tax are up. We are able to balance it with a little bit of growth we have seen and that’s all positive.”
 
Capital projects take up the highest percentage of the budget ($10.6 million), according to Slagle, followed by personnel services ($6.8 million).
 
“A couple of the big projects really deal with stormwater improvements: We did apply for some grants,” Slagle said. “The next big project would involve some work at the wastewater treatment plant, runway improvements – lighting and markings – at the airport, two slides at the aquatic center, some sidewalk work and some equipment ranging from patrol vehicles to utility trucks.”
 
“We are still trying to fund, the best we can, some of the outside agencies such as the senior center, historical society, Miss Missouri, help center and youth sports to the levels that we have. People want to know we are helping the community.”
 
Slagle said there will be some wastewater rate increases “to meet those needs,” and he mentioned that there are still some asphalt overlay, street and sidewalk improvements and road extension that are all in the budget.
 
“We’re in the neighborhood of spending almost a million dollars (on the road and street projects,” Slagle said. “Our tax rate will go down slightly. We had some growth in property valuations – values went up, tax rates went down. It will be very minimal (73.9 to 73.7 cents) – when we change by a small percent it doesn’t affect a whole lot.”
 
The cost of materials and equipment can sometimes be costly, and the fluctuation can adversely affect the budget, but Slagle noted that gas prices are slowly starting to creep down, which won’t hurt things.
 
“Each year, we do our best guess on estimating and average things as best we can,” Slagle said. “Sometimes, some part of it’s guessing.”
 
Labor shortage issues and low unemployment has strained Mexico’s ability to hire and maintain a “qualified workforce,” and review a look at how to best attract employees with attractive intangibles to aid recruiting while maintaining a budget balance.
 
“You are seeing a labor issue across the board – you are seeing it everywhere – everyone is struggling to find and hire people,” Slagle said. “We are in an employee market today. People can move, get more money, move to other places and get hired pretty quickly. It’s industry wide.”
 
As far as supply-chain issues, Slagle sees a trend to a more “on-demand” type of offering to the public. Instead of things sitting on the shelf, more and more are made to order – such as internet outlets such as Amazon Prime.
 
“That got stretched out with people not working (during the pandemic),” he said. “Also, you have to look at how much of our stuff comes from overseas and how hard it is to get things shipped and delivered. That’s what I see.”
 
He did add things will self-correct as more production kicks in for respective items and needs.
 
On August 22, the Mexico City Council will get together to discuss more on a final review on the proposed budget, followed by a publish for tax rate and then a public hearing will be held Sept. 12 and the budget will be presented publicly for approval.

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