Council Updates Spring 2018
Posted on 05/21/2018

Council Meetings and Budget Education

Special Session Notes from May 17, 2018
The Cape Girardeau City Council met last week to dive into budget operations and issues. The City Manager recapped the last nine years of city business and efforts to strengthen city finances noting, among other things:
  • Stronger “Savings Account” – Increased reserve fund balance from 2.8% to 11% of the operating budget. This money is used like a savings account to plan for future expenses and prepare for emergencies (in addition to the emergency reserve of 15%). Government accounting officials aim for 3+ months (25% or more) of operating funds to be kept on reserve.
  • Eliminated Retiree Medical – This employee benefit was a considerable unfunded liability. Employees hired after July 1, 2012 are no longer eligible.
  • Built Compliant Facility – Years ago, the Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) was noncompliant and facing huge fines from the state. Voters approved a tax in 2011 to fund the construction of a new compliant facility that also prepared the city for growth.
  • Commander Debts Resolved – A failed airport manufacturer, Commander, amassed ~$1 million in debt to the City for rent and bond payments. The company was evicted from the airport, and debts were later settled in court. The City is now the owner of the facility, and the bond payments have been paid off. 
The Finance Director gave the Council a tour of the new budget visualization tool now found at Of note:Chart shows most funding supports PW and safety
  • The budget is, and must remain, balanced
  • Much of city revenue is required by statute or settlement agreement to be spent a certain way. For example, the State created the “Parks, Recreation, and Stormwater” (PRS) tax which voters approved. Those funds cannot be used to replace streets or hire more officers, they must be used for parks, recreation, or stormwater projects.
  • Largest spike in expenses occurred in 2013 and was due to the new DNR-compelled and voter-approved WWTF
  • Voters approved various sales taxes and their renewals for improvement projects such as Transportation Trust Fund every five years since 1995, the Public Safety Trust Fund and Fire Sales Tax in 2004 and 2014,   PRS in 2008 and 2018, and the capital tax to replace the Wastewater Treatment Facility in 2011. These special taxes cannot be spent for purposes other than those outlined by State statutes and approved by voters.
  • Sales tax revenue has been flat, unlike the cost to provide services which has been climbing.
  • Much of total operating expenses pay for employees. Most of the additional employees in recent years have been added to the police and parks departments.

The Council will discuss how to keep the budget balanced in the future by possibly reducing expenses and/or increasing revenue. Lowered service levels and program cuts could lower expenses while increased revenue could come through economic development and the use tax. Please contact the City Manager's Office with any concerns or questions.
Interested in City funding? Sign-up for the city academy wait list. Program coming Fall 2018.

Council Meeting Changes Started May 21

Effective Monday, May 21 the City Council will start both meetings at one meeting at 5 p.m.
In recent history, the Council started a 5pm “study” session followed by a 7 pm “regular” session. From now on, the Study Session will just be part of the whole meeting. (This alleviates the need for the break between meetings and feeding of Council members). 
  • Invocation 
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Study Session – No action will be taken during the study session
    • Presentations (e.g. Proclamations, partner reports, Beautiful Business Property of the Month Presentation)
    • Communications/Reports (Council/staff)
    • Items for Discussion (e.g. Planning and Zoning Commission Report and specific discussion items you’d previously see on Study agenda)
    • Appearances regarding items not listed on the agenda
    • Agenda review
  • Regular Session
    • Call to Order/Roll Call
    • Adoption of the Agenda
    • Public Hearings
    • Appearances regarding Items Listed on the Agenda
    • Consent Agenda
    • Items Removed From Consent Agenda
    • New Ordinances
    • Appointments
  • Other Business
  • Meeting Adjournment
Closed Session (IF REQUIRED) FYI - The City Council of the City of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, may, as a part of a study session or regular or special City Council meeting, vote to hold a closed session to discuss issues listed in RSMo. Section 610.021, including but not limited to: legal actions, causes of legal action or litigation, leasing, purchasing or sale of real estate, hiring, firing, disciplining, personnel issues, or confidential or privileged communications with its attorneys.