JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin City Council met tonight, their last meeting of October which is important because, among other things, the council votes to approve the next fiscal year budget. But, it wasn’t the only thing on the agenda tonight.
The budget for the next fiscal year for the City of Joplin was passed unanimously at the Monday night meeting. Without the budget, the city can’t operate, so passing it is an essential part of the last meeting of October in any year. However, COVID concerns did play a role in the upcoming budget, with uncertainties as to how long the pandemic will last, or how long it could affect revenue sources for the city. Leslie Haase says “You do want to be cautious so that you don’t have to make, maybe some drastic cuts, so I feel like this budget reflects that stance.”
No cuts are planned for the upcoming budget, and Finance Director Leslie Haase says thanks to stronger than anticipated sales tax revenue, no cuts were made over this past year. In fact, thanks to some hard work from the finance team and the city manager, next year’s budget includes a 9% increase for all city workers across the board. “We have not increased our pay plan for inflationary purposes since 2013, and so really the nine percent, the way that I look at it, it’s playing catch-up from that time period to now.”
That raise will go into effect November 1st. Also on the agenda, a lease agreement with Parkwood Tournament, LLC for four of the city’s ball fields: Wendell-Redden, Gabby Street, Bassman Softball Complex, and Joe Becker Stadium.
The lease would allow Parkwood to manage those facilities and pay an annual rate of $55,000. Haase says it will save the city $27,000 and allow parks to make some changes as well. “This will allow the parks department to reallocate those seasonal workers that they use for concessions and things like that, to parks beautification.”
The new fiscal year officially starts on November 1st.
The council voted 5 in favor with 4 against on the lease agreement, however, city officials say it needed a ‘super majority’, or 6 in favor to pass on an emergency basis. Since it did not get the 6 in favor, it will move on to second and third reading at the next meeting.