Commission looks at how to use revenue

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone City Commission laid the path to use an additional 1.8236 mills that were approved at the end of June during its meeting Monday night. The exact use of the additional revenue has not been decided.

The 1.8236 mills, which will generate additional real property revenue in the amount of $139,090 for the city’s general fund and $18,450 for the Downtown Development Authority budget, will be levied on this summer’s tax bill. Because the additional revenue was not included in the city’s budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the budget needed to be amended to include the funding prior to the funds being allocated to specific uses.

“The items that we’re still looking at (are) staffing levels in public safety, replacing the aging fleet in the public works department, replacing or repairing the fire truck, and further funding for the public works facility,” said City Manager Darla Falcon.

To prepare the city commission to make an educated decision about how the additional revenue should be spent, city staff recommended a budget workshop be held in roughly 60 days. Prior to the meeting staff would research the cost of items being discussed and make recommendations.

“I think the budget workshop is a great idea because I think we may all have a different opinion on what our priorities are,” said Commissioner Hugo Mattonen.

However, Commissioner Dave Nemacheck raised concerns over the length of the process.

“I can’t gather in my mind, what’s going to take staff so long to gather something. I can’t fathom it. If you look for two hours at it, I mean, what more can you think about?” said Nemacheck.

Rather than push the issue forward without staff input, the commission opted to wait the 60 days so that information could be gathered and staff input could be weighed in the decision.

“When I voted for this I voted for that so that we could start addressing capital needs not spend more money. So I will definitely be looking to see that we’re spending the money on things we haven’t been doing,” said Mayor Joe Maki.

The millage increase was the reinstatement of a millage that had not been collected since 2012 but was authorized under the city’s charter. Prior to 2012 the millage was used to fund garbage collection in the city. The city has since changed to a fee schedule for garbage collection, and it was later discovered that the millage could be used for other purposes.

Commissioners were divided at the June 23 meeting on whether or not to reinstate the millage. The measure passed in a 3-2 split vote with commissioners Mattonen and Nemacheck joining Mayor Maki in support of the millage. Commissioners Jay Bostwick and Matt Gay voted against the measure.