Hillsboro sets public hearing for budget amendments

The Hillsboro City Coun?cil, during a relatively brief and routine meeting Nov. 11, designated 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, for a public hearing to consider amend?ments to the 2015 annual budget.

Budget amendments are needed most years because line items approved six months prior to the start of the actual budget year end up exceeding the amounts initially approved.

Budget amendments enable the city to comply with state budget statutes and avoid budget violations during audit procedures. The amendments do not affect the property-tax levy approved by the council for the year in question.

?As we close out 2015, we are in a position to guess the final expenses compared to budget and determine what funds need adjusting,? City Administrator Larry Paine said. ?As we have seen in the past, we are not always perfect with our crystal ball.?

Paine said the penalty for a budget violation ?is having a note placed in the annual audit?nobody dies or goes to jail.?

Paine identified five budget items that likely will require amendments:

? The city expended the 2014 and 2015 chip seal program expenses this summer.

? The Police Depart?ment?s K-9 fund was cleared after the city decommissioned the drug dog.

? Equipment purchased for the street department through the Equipment Reserve fund used some existing cash balance above the budgeted allocation.

? The active Meter Deposit fund has returned account deposits that exceeded projections.

? The city is expecting to receive a grant or donation to its Special Parks fund; if the money is received before the end of the calendar year, it would require a budget amendment.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? looked on as four city staff members accepted awards and gifts through the League of Kansas Munici?pal?ities for years of service: Bob Wat?son, eight years as a council member; David Funk, 15 years with the police department; Dan Kinning, 20 years with the police department; and Mona Hein, 25 years in the city office.

? authorized a lease order for a new Bobcat skid steer loader for the street department. The agreement with White Star Machinery of Wichita is that the city will pay $3,500 for 250 hours of operation. At the end of the year, the city can return the machine to White Star for resale.

Paine said because of the government discount, White Star can then sell the used unit for more money than the company can buy if it were a retail sale.

As part of the transaction, the council?s 3-0 vote also authorized the mayor and council members to sign the lease agreement with First Bank of Sterling.

? routinely approved adoption of the Standard Traffic Ordinance and Uni?form Public Offense Code as guiding documents for city enforcement.

? heard Paine report that he and representatives from Piper Jaffray, the city?s bond counsel, will be meeting with Standard & Poors officials to review the city?s bond rating.

Paine said the city?s current bond rating is ?A-stable,? but he is hopeful that the rating will improve a notch because of decisions made by the council during the year, including a decision to establish cash reserve for city utilities, and developing a plan that addresses maintenance and improvements.

Favorable bond ratings reduces the interest rate charged when a city receives a loan through the bond process.

Councilor Brent Driggers was absent from the meeting.

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