The City of Sedalia held another budget work session Thursday night to iron out details for Fiscal Year 2018.

Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby

The one-hour meeting featured a scenario that whittled down the ending fund balance from $414,000 to around $22,500. City Finance Director Kelvin Shaw explained what was presented to City Council members:

“Our sales tax was under what we expected. So what we did during this meeting was present an option for a way to get us back to where we feel comfortable with our budget for next year,” he said.

“Council opted to make a few of those changes and it still comes within reason of where we want to be, so I feel very good about where we ended,” Shaw said. “The Council made the tough calls, and that's where it lays.”

Sale tax projections for March were significantly down from what was previously expected, from 2.4 percent above March 2016 to 1.4 percent below. Shaw noted that March 2016's sales tax figures were abnormally high ($230,000).

City Administrator Gary Edwards stressed that things have changed when it comes to consumers' buying habits nationwide, not just locally, especially with growing online purchases.

The Council will vote on the FY2018 budget on March 20. Those citizens who want to make a statement will be allowed to do so at 7 p.m. Monday night. Each speaker will be given three minutes.

Shaw was joined by Edwards and Mayor Stephen J. Galliher behind the scenes to work through the proposed $38 million budget.

"Every department has done their share of making big cuts. No one was asking for “pie in the sky,” according to Mayor Galliher. "This is not an easy job (budgeting), it's very difficult. Because we want every department to have everything they want to provide better service. That's our goal. We just don't have the money to do it that way."

Sedalia Police Chief John DeGonia stated his department is currently short five officers. City Councilman Jeff Leeman asked to revisit the Sedalia Police Department's situation in six months.

Officer Kelley Casto noted that the police department has to grow with the City. "We may have to scale back on essential calls, or maybe pull back on special assignments," he hinted.

Mayor Galliher responded by saying that "we're a Tree City USA, but we don't have a money tree."

Edwards noted that "a way to address the issue is to budget conservatively, and you can't get much more conservative than what we're budgeting."

Councilman Leeman said that "we represent the people. Overall, we are responsible to the citizens of Sedalia" for the financial health of the City.

The first FY2018 budget work session was held Feb. 27 and lasted two hours.

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