Fuel, material costs impacting Mineola budgeting

By Phil Major
publisher@wood.cm
Posted 6/9/22

Mineola City Council got to work on the 2022-23 city budget Monday.

And just like citizens dealing with inflation, the budgeting process is being impacted.

Fuel costs for all departments are …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Fuel, material costs impacting Mineola budgeting

Posted

Mineola City Council got to work on the 2022-23 city budget Monday.

And just like citizens dealing with inflation, the budgeting process is being impacted.

Fuel costs for all departments are raised 70% in the proposed budget, while the costs of other materials are also sky rocketing.

Public Works Director Kyle McCoy said the cost of six-inch pipe has risen from $13 per foot to $35. He also noted delays in receiving supplies.

If there is good news, it is that the city’s sales tax income, which fuels a substantial part of the budget, is also rising and is forecasted to be up at least 9% this year, and through the first eight months of the fiscal year is running almost 14% ahead of the prior year.

A 5% budgeted increase would raise sales tax income to $1,928,373.

Property tax income would increase from $1,300,000 to $1,345,000.

The budget includes a 5% increase in salaries, which includes a 3% across-the-board pay raise and an additional 2% as merit pay.

The police department has requested a fifth patrol officer while the fire department has requested a paid assistant fire chief.

Fire Marshal David Madsen explained that the planning and zoning and other parts of his position have seen increased administrative activity, and having a paid fireman on duty during the day would also help with manpower shortages during daytime hours.

A clerk position in public works would be eliminated in favor of an assistant public works director.

Health insurance costs are projected to increase 10%, though the city has not received bids yet. The city spends $533,000 a year on health insurance, including 100% for employees and 70% for spouses, children and families.

Streets receive some attention in the proposal, with funds increased from $70,000 to $100,000.

McCoy said he has driven the city streets and described them as “in pretty bad disarray.”

He said with the projected cost of improving a street at $39,000, the budget will allow only three streets per year.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t have nice streets,” he said.

City crews will be working on Meadowbrook this year, “until the money runs out,” he said.

City Secretary Cindy Karch asked the council to consider budgeting for capital reserves in the fire, police and street departments.

That way large expenditures would not have as much impact on the budget.

She also advised the council that two city water tanks will be needing upgrades in the coming years at $600,000 apiece.

Along with the Mineola Economic Development Corp., the city is proposing a $400,000 budget to extend Park Central to the new subdivision south of Tractor Supply, which will also serve improvements planned by Morrow Renewables. (See related story)

In the utility department, a 2% increase is projected in water and sewer rates, while the utility deposit is proposed to rise from $150 to $200. The last utility rate increase was 3% in 2019.

Karch explained that while the $200 deposit still would not cover the full cost of residents who skip out on their bills, it will help.

Also proposed is switching bill collecting to Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins and Mott, the firm that collects overdue fines and taxes for the city.

The current firm is collecting about 12% of the overdue utility bills.

Since June 2020, the city has sent $33,172 in delinquent accounts for collection.