To start off this week’s meeting, the council reviewed 2022’s financials through the month of November. Our city continues to be in a very strong financial position with revenues exceeding expenditures by arppoximately $4 million dollars through 11 months of the year. Due to the city paying off bond debt in recent months, the city is also due a refund of an additional $2.5 million in the coming weeks. This will push Maumelle’s 2022 surplus to approximately $6.5 million for the current year with $3.1 million of this surplus coming from refunds due to retirement of city bond debt. After several years of belt-tightening to make sure we controlled expenses during an uncertain economic period, the city has come through stronger than ever. As we head into the next few years, this puts the city in a great position to invest in our community and provide facilities and services to benefit our residents.
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In unfinished business, the council was unable to make an appointment to the Civil Service Commission for the third straight meeting. With one council member recusing from the vote and another member absent, it’s difficult for the remaining six council members to pull together the five needed votes for an appointment. We will have a new council member join us in January to fill the seat that has been vacant due to illness, so we’ll see if that provides the needed vote to finally make an appointment. The ballots were split 3-3 on multiple votes last night, so one additional vote doesn’t get us to 5 for either candidate unless another council member changes their vote. Either way, these two candidates are highly qualified which has led to the difficulty in making an appointment.
To be continued…
The council approved the establishment of a Municipal Property Owners Improvement District for the Devoe Bend neighborhood. As I’ve mentioned previously, state law compels the council to set up these districts if a proper petition is put forward. This passed by a 6-2 vote.
The council approved a resolution to seek condemnation of .14 acres along White Oak Crossing so that the new roundabout project can move forward along Country Club Parkway and White Oak Crossing. The city has already offered $55,000 for the .14 acres which is approximately $15,000 more than an independent appraiser has said it is worth. This approved resolution moves the case to the court system so a judge can determine a fair value for this small piece of land.
A local business, Plastic Ingenuity, located in our city’s industrial park, has applied for the state of Arkansas Tax Back Program which provides financial incentives for businesses that are expanding their workforce in our state. Plastic Ingenuity currently has 100 employees in Maumelle and will be growing to 140 employees in the next 5 years. To participate in the state’s tax back program, they had to seek an endorsement from the council. This endorsement passed by a 7-1 vote of the council.
Lastly, the council approved the 2023 city budget by a 7-1 vote of the council. The city has budgeted revenues for the coming year to be flat with no growth. This is a conservative forecast but wise considering the economy may enter a recession next year. In terms of revenue versus expenses, the city will have a balanced budget with personnel and operating expenses equaling the revenue we’re forecasting and we’re budgeting $3.1 million in capital items.
A few highlights on the operational side, Maumelle will be adding two new police officer positions, three new fire lieutenant positions, as well as a new city engineer. For capital items in our general fund, these projects include technology upgrades, facility improvements at both the Police & Fire Stations, 5 new police vehicles, a new in-car and body camera system, reporting and station alerting upgrades for both Police & Fire needed for PSAP (911) consolidation, a zodiac rescue boat, vehicle and equipment replacements in Animal Services, Public Works and Parks, Pickleball Courts, and the Gateway Park.
Capital projects in our street department include equipment replacements, a street sweeper replacement, asphalt street overlays & sealing, street striping, a traffic signal at Hwy 100 & Audubon Drive, along with continued drainage & path improvements. Total Street capital expenditures for 2023 are $1,390,275.
In our sanitation department, we are budgeting $280,506 in capital expenditures which include several dumpster replacements as well as a new Knuckle Boom truck.
The last item I’ll mention is something I’m very excited about for our city. We recently received a grant for $240,000 which will largely complete the funds needed to construct our All-Inclusive Playground to be located next to the splash pad along Lake Valencia. This project should begin construction in early 2023 and will complete the playground and splash pad project. This park will be an exciting amenity for our residents and will become a go-to destination in our community for families. More to come on this project as we move towards construction in the coming months.
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Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year! Chad 501-529-1336, firstname.lastname@example.org