For the coming fiscal year of 2021-22, the city of Seymour is projecting a budget that ends in the black, as it calls for $5,294,930.24 in revenue, $5,186,077.80 in expenses and a positive difference of $108,852.44.
That budget was passed in a 4-0 vote by the four-member Seymour Board of Aldermen last Thursday night at its regular meeting.
“I’d like to see us with a lot more flexibility in this year’s budget, but it just isn’t there,” City Administrator Hillary Gintz said. “Our needs are very great for our infrastructure, specifically in the sewer department, and our expenses show that in the budget.”
She noted that there were “no surprises” in the budget, as the aldermen and Mayor Richards Vinson held three special budget meetings in June to address the city’s needs for the upcoming 2021-22 fiscal year, which starts Thursday.
“A year ago, we spent just under $20,000 in capital projects related to our sewers,” Gintz said. “This year, that amount is budgeted at $350,000.”
Expenses in the sewer department are projected at a record $687,441.87 for the coming year.
Conversely, expenses are projected to decrease in about every other department, ranging from the police department to the library. Costs in the water department are projected to drop by more than $60,000.
The budget calls for no increases for Seymour’s electric or water rates.
The only utility increase comes in the form of a 7-percent hike in basic sewer fees. Throughout June’s budget meetings, the aldermen debated the sewer rates as the city, per pressure from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR), decided to implement a Wastewater System Facility Plan as proposed in a study completed more than two years ago by Toth & Associates, a consulting firm in Springfield.
“There are improvements to our sewer than just can’t be delayed any longer,” Gintz said.
She said that became evident at a budget meeting attended by Roger Cross and Toby Sanders of the city’s sewer department.
“It’s pretty clear we don’t have a choice except to make all the repairs needed,” North Ward Alderman Darrel “Bub” Wallace said. “If we don’t, the DNR is going to come in here and do it ... and we’ll get to pay for it anyway.”
The 13-page budget calls for no new vehicles for any of the city’s departments.