Municipal services will cost Calvert City taxpayers $5 million next fiscal year if the city council adopts its proposed budget. The council heard the first reading of the 2019-20 budget ordinance following a workshop last Wednesday. The water and sewer department proposed a $3.9 million spending plan for next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The council was expected to hear the second reading and adopt the proposed budgets at its regular meeting last night (June 10).
Mayor Lynn Jones reminded council members that the city’s liability for its employee pension fund now stands at $7 million. On a brighter note, City Administrator John Ward announced the city’s liability insurance has decreased about $27,000. “We’ve been working hard getting our risk management score up,” he said.
In discussing capital improvements Ward said for the last 10 or 11 years, the city has been saving its municipal aid funds received from the state for street paving and using tax dollars for paving projects. “We’ve been putting (municipal aid) back and letting it draw interest, and we have about $550,000 in that fund,” he said, noting that money will be used to upgrade 5thAvenue. “We knew we had a big project coming and we’ve been saving up so we could utilize it for that. … We’re still going to put in $200,000 of tax dollars to do our annual paving as well.”
During the two-hour workshop department heads explained their wish lists and spending plans, some in greater detail than others.
Dan Sills, water and sewer board chairman, said revenue projections are based on this fiscal year with a 2 percent increase, which, he said, “is our normal adjustment.” Sills said the department’s proposed budget includes a $4 per month increase that will be added to customers’ bills for new water meters planned for installation during the next year. Operating expenses are projected to be similar to this year. “What we had instructed Roger to do was to come up with a zero budget,” Sills said, referring to plant manager Roger Colburn.
He reported that seven firms are bidding for engineering work on a new water plant, and the board is preparing to review their resumes. “Then we’ll make a decision on who’s going to do the engineering,” he said. Sills said the department has budgeted $1.5 million for capital expenditures next fiscal year.
Jones mentioned that the city’s acquisition of a 25.239-acre tract behind the elementary school gives the board a second location option for the new water plant. The first location is the former city dump site off Ky. 1523, north of 5th Avenue.
“On the water side, we have finished the Heights project,” Sills said, referring to replacement of waterlines that were installed in the early 1950s in Calvert Heights. The Heights was the first subdivision built after the city’s second incorporation in the late 1940s. “We need to complete the well field; we’ve got a new well, which will give us better water, and we’re doing away with one of the wells that had too much iron in it.”
Colburn said the new well will produce 1,000 gallons per minute. “I have two 1,000-gallon a minute wells and three 700-gallon a minute wells,” he added.
In renovating the waste-water treatment plant, Sills said the department encountered an unexpected issue in dredging the lagoons. “The lagoons ended up being two feet deeper than they were believed to be,” he said. Colburn explained that because the sludge was deeper than anticipated, “We’re going to end up with 16,000 to 18,000 yards of dredged material. From 1975 when the plant was put into operation those lagoons have never been dredged. … The good news is when we’re done, (the city) is going to have essentially a new waste-water treatment plant.”
Marketing Director Blair Travis presented her planned activities and $160,815 financing plan in a three-page printed document featuring a pie chart in color indicating the percentage of proposed spending in each of seven categories: publications and signage, 35 percent; events, 22 percent; advertising, 21 percent; marketing and research, 9 percent; website, 7 percent; travel, 3 percent; promotions, 2 percent; subscriptions and dues, 1 percent.
During the cemetery discussion Ward noted that through ground-penetrating radar, 19 unmarked graves were identified.
Councilwoman Neeta Hale suggested the city should increase the $20 per run it pays firefighters. However, Fire Chief Tim Davis said he has four new firefighters in training and suggested the council wait until they have completed their training before making any change.
Davis told the council he is discussing the city’s need for a new firetruck with five different manufacturers and he hopes to have further information by next month. The department is also planning to upgrade lighting in the classroom at the training center. Ward said there has been a conversation about building an outdoor classroom, which would cost about $35,000.
Regarding Kentucky Dam Airport, Ward said the only expense “outside our state funding is a weather advisory system,” the cost of which is $10,000. He explained that the system would be temporary until the city can obtain federal funding for an automatic weather operating system. “It can’t be certified, but it is usable,” he said. The automatic system costs about $200,000 and the federal government will pay for it but the state won’t, Ward added.
In other business the council:
--Heard the first reading of an ordinance dealing with personnel and pay classification and establishing compensation rates for elected officials for next fiscal year.
--Heard the first reading of an ordinance amending the 2018-19 budget to reflect added revenue of $300,000 and expenditure decrease from $4.3 million to $3.7 million.
Ordinances introduced on first reading will be adopted or amended after a second reading.
--Voted to revise its personnel policy by combining two supervisory positions.