Monday, 26 October 2020

City considers building improvements at budget planning session

The Kirksville City Council met on Monday to hold an initial planning session for its 2019 budget, covering a wide variety of proposed expenditures over the next year. 

City Manager Mari Macomber said the budget is the most important thing the City Council deliberates on every year. 

“You’re not only determining how the resources are going to be spent, but you’re determining the direction of this city,” Macomber said. 

Finance Director Lacy King said because of significant economic growth in Kirksville over the last few years, it is now more difficult to use previous years’ revenues and expenses as a guide to projecting this year’s. 

Sources of funding for the city include grants awarded by the state of Missouri and other agencies, property and sales taxes and fines paid for traffic tickets and other violations of the law. 

King noted that funds collected from fines collected by the courts have decreased in 2018. Macomber attributed this to a number of factors, including a lower number of tickets being written and an outstanding balance of $125,000 in unpaid fines over the last 10 years. 

Expenses that the Council considered as part of the 2019 budget included improvements to several city-owned buildings. 

The proposed building improvements include replacing the elevator doors at City Hall, which could cost up to $8,000, and a window replacement at the Fire Department that is estimated to cost less than $1,000. Other costs that would be considered include renovating the City Hall basement, which houses the E-911 Dispatch Center, and replacing the Kirksville Police Department’s chair lift. 

E-911 Director Chirs Killday has proposed relocating the dispatch center to another area of the City Hall basement, which currently houses the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s local office. The current dispatch space is small, has a low ceiling height and is difficult to cool during the summer. 

According to a staff report by Code Enforcement Director Reid Yardley, this relocation would require installing three news doors, as well as relocating communication lines and wiring, drywall repairs, painting, framing and possible minor electrical work. The city would also have to find a new space to house the Highway Patrol. 

Yardley said most of the work to renovate the space would need to be completed by an outside contractor and estimated the total cost of the project to be $25,000 or less. 

Yardley reported to the Council on the chair lift located at the Kirksville Police Department station. Yardley said the chair lift is very outdated and parts needed to repair it have become difficult or impossible to locate. 

However, Yardley said the chair lift is rarely used, mostly to move furniture, and that it could cost up to $20,000 to replace. 

“This area is not considered a public area, so it would not need to have a chair lift for accessibility,” Yardley said. 

Yardley also proposed improvements to the Kirksville Regional Airport, a building he said has received little renovation in the 34 years since its construction and now has a leaking roof and a floor with many missing tiles. 

“Overall, I believe the best approach would be to just demo the existing roof,” Yardley said. “Let’s not try to Band-Aid fix it, let’s get the best bang for our buck.” 

Yardley said the best option for replacing the roof would have a cost of approximately $56,000 and would come with a 20-year warranty. He suggested replacing the floor covering as well, which would cost approximately $14,000 for replacement tile and up to $25,000 for a vinyl planking that would require less maintenance. 

“If I get complaints about one thing, it is the airport,” Macomber said. “We do have a contract with the federal government that says we’re supposed to comply and provide certain things.” 

A plan to update the airport’s fuel system will be included in the 2019 budget after being pushed back from 2018. The city has been award a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, which will pay for 95 percent of the project; the Council approved the grant at its regular meeting Monday. 

Public Works Director Glenn Balliew said the airport received a good report on its annual inspection, but that the FAA inspector did note the airport should replace several signs and repaint its runway landing designators before next year’s inspection. The cost for those updates would be approximately $15,500. 

The City Council will work with King and other city staff to allocate funds in the budget. The Council’s 2019 budget is expected to be finalized by Dec. 7. The Daily Express will feature continuing coverage of the budget process and other budget matters discussed at Monday’s meeting. 


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