By Chad Gardner
The Maumelle City Council met on Monday night and reviewed the financials through October of 2020.
Overall, the city's budget for the year has fared pretty well through this challenging year. City and County sales tax revenue continue to come in above budget for the year whereas our County Millage (property taxes) will likely fall just short of meeting budget once we finish up 2020.
Parks & Recreation and Senior Services are also behind budget on revenues due to closures in those departments due to the pandemic, but those revenue losses have been more than offset by those two departments reducing their expenses.
The city's department heads and Mayor Caleb Norris have done a very good job navigating this difficult year.
Under old business, the Council approved an ordinance that will amend our code to update the width of some new streets that might be built in our city. Streets were already being built with the new design standard, so this change just brought our code up to date with the way streets were being built in our city. The paved width is now set at 27 feet.
A new ordinance was introduced tonight that will upgrade drainage requirements on new developments in Maumelle. Currently, developers can build streets and drainage to only handle 10-year storm events. If approved, the new ordinance will require developments to install drainage that will handle 25-year rain events. This change is something that other cities are also making since it will help protect homeowners in new developments from future flooding events. By building to a 25-year rain event rather than a 10-year event, the new developments will be able to handle a larger volume of water which would reduce flood events.
The Council unanimously approved the city's 2021 budget and it is a balanced budget without using any of the city's reserve funds to balance the budget.
In recent history, the city has typically balanced the budget by appropriating funds from our general fund. Until the past few years, this worked fine since the city never had to draw on the general fund for an appropriation. Revenues had exceeded expenses, so an appropriation wasn't needed. The past two years haven't had the same result and the city has made an appropriation from the general fund in order to balance the budget. In 2021, the budget does not call for an appropriation from reserves to balance the budget. This took a lot of cutting and the department heads did an excellent job finding areas where they could reduce expenses in order to help the city achieve a balanced budget. The finance department has also done a tremendous job helping Maumelle navigate this difficult year and I greatly appreciate their work in developing the budget for 2021.
One good piece of financial news is Maumelle will receive $644,000 in CARES Act funding which will reimburse the city for Covid-related expenses as well as payroll reimbursement for 2020. These funds have to be allocated by year-end so the Council approved a budget resolution on Monday to accept those funds and then allocate them on various purchases and payroll reimbursements. Bottom line, this CARES Act funding will allow Maumelle to upgrade several processes and modernize the way the city operates and serves our residents. Additionally, it will add $327,000 to the city's general fund as a reimbursement for payroll expenses in 2020.
The Council also approved new membership rates this evening for the Parks & Rec department in 2021. The biggest changes come for non-residents of Maumelle as they will pay less with the hope being that by making the city's amenities more affordable it will encourage new members to generate additional sources of revenue for the Parks Department.
The groundbreaking for the Maumelle Splash pad will be at 10 a.m. this Friday.Site prep will begin next week and the installation of the splash pad will only take about a month, weather permitting.
Residents will see all of the site prep and foundation work taking place in the last two weeks of December. In January, the site will begin to really take shape with equipment installed in the second and third weeks of the month.
By Jan. 25, the splash pad should be completed. The splash pad site is adjacent to the library.
Renderings for the splash pad can be found here
Chad Gardner represents Ward 2 and can be reached at email@example.com or 501-529-1336
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