February 6, 2016

Mill increase would help offset shortfall in Bond & Interest fund

Corbin H. Crable

Gardner City Council members on July 12 discussed the possibility of a 6.5 mill increase in the city’s 2011 budget to help offset a shortfall in the Bond and Interest Fund – and Gardner residents could see higher utility bills beginning next year as well.

The city already plans to transfer $100,000 from the General Fund to Bond and Interest to help cover delinquencies on special assessments, according to Assistant City Administrator Melissa Mundt.

The potential mill increase translates into an additional $10 per month – or $220 per year — each single-family household will pay to the city.

Mundt and City Administrator Stewart Fairburn said, however, that while the city anticipates an additional 2-mill increase in 2012, things will start to level off in 2013 with a potential 4-mill decrease.

A reduction in force enacted in early May has helped cushion the shortfall in the city’s General Fund, now at only $500.

Similarly, Water manager Jim Melvin and Public Works Director David Greene told council members that more funds will be needed for water and wastewater next year. The water department is requesting an additional $2.2 million for anticipated maintenance on equipment, Melvin said, and it is likely to need an additional $20,000 each year for the next five years to continue with replacement and maintenance, specifically on older water lines.

Melvin told council members that his department plans to replace old water mains and consider replacement of the old water treatment plant. That would cost $15 million, he added.

Fairburn said that when looking at anticipated maintenance projects for both water and wastewater, Gardner residents could face a 5-percent rate increase for water and an 8-percent increase for wastewater on their utility bills.

Council member Kristy Harrison asked what those two figures mean in terms of how much more residents will pay per month. Fairburn said he did not have the dollar amounts but would get them to the council.

Now that all department managers have made presentations on their respective budgets to the council, the governing body will set aside the next few work sessions for discussion. The city must submit its 2011 budget to the state by the end of next month.

The council will next meet for a special work session on budget discussion at 6 p.m. Monday, July 19, followed by its regular meeting at 7 p.m. If budget talks extend beyond the hour set aside between 6 and 7, the special work session will continue after the regular meeting adjourns. Both meetings will take place at City Hall, 120 E. Main St.

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  1. I hear Drovetta is on vacation and Mundt is going to Europe – how will we ever survive until they return?????? Mundt must be spending her new raise in Venice, Paris, perhaps Rome, who knows????????? Maybe she is going to swig beer with Kiegerl on his yearly jaunt to Europe to his motherland……..summertime in Europe – I hope she shares her photos with the Gardner News.

    Now get back to work and pay those taxes and get ready for your city’s increase in the mill levy to keep your city administration in the style to which they are accustomed………………..

  2. Have they thought the taxes are delinquent because taxes are to high, and people are broke? I question whaqt Fairburn does; seems Mundt is in the lead on everything. I was trying to remember who was here before Fairburn, but it seems we weren’t broke until he came.

  3. I hope all citizens fully recognize that this information tells you what happens when you carry such a high amount of debt. Debt is very, very costly and expensive to service. I hope the light bulb goes off in every citizen’s head indicating they understand we have been spending more than we can afford – fiscal responsibility has not been practiced in Gardner for some years and the day of reckoning is here. Combine that with cronyism government that takes care of biz, developers and other special interests with resulting loss of tax revenue, and you will have money problems – BIG MONEY PROBLEMS FOR THE PEOPLE.

  4. Really, I’m not trying to be smart, what does Fairburn do? Has anyone compared his job description to Mundt’s? She seems to be the go to girl.

  5. Even more important, Jayz, after you find out what they do, then you have to analyze their words, actions and inaction to determine whether they are serving you well. That takes time and a concerted effort to be very well informed on many, many issues that affect you in your daily life.

    Just like last week when they slipped through that 3 year contract for Century Link without presenting detailed specifications for the contract and requesting SEALED bids. The Council did not protect your interests, in my opinion, by not requiring this nor was there any citizen there to question this. I did send an e-mail to Fairburn with a carbon copy to the Council prior to the meeting asking if sealed bids had been secured and if not, why, but, of course, I did not receive a reply from Fairburn until about three days later after they had already done what they wanted done through their manipulations again. I then sent an e-mail to the full council asking why they hadn’t done their job by providing the proper checks and balances and told them I did not understand how they could be a party to this type of process – you can bet your bippy I haven’t heard a word from them. This is the fourth instance of this type of process that readily comes to my mind and I am sure there are more. I totally recall about 1 1/2 years ago when the contract for the vet of the animal control pets came up and they tried the very same thing using the consent agenda once again. Thank goodness Linda Meisinger was there that evening and spoke up and said, hey, we need this contract put up for bid and sealed bids received. Linda did something that the Council should have been doing but they were just there as usual with their rubber stamp ready to do the bidding of a city administration that to me is not working in an ethical manner nor one that is beneficial to the people. That vet contract went to another vet at a lower cost and saved the taxpayers money and the contract gave the people the services they need.

    So your cronyism government is embedded in Gardner City Hall and it has a long arm and affects you in many, many ways starting with your wallet. What will you, as a citizen, do to make a difference???????? You could start by being informed, educated and speaking out on city and school issues.

  6. All public salaries should be open to the public. Call and ask.

  7. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    The City of Gardner website (http://www.gardnerkansas.gov/budget/) has a page containing the entire 2010 Operating Budget for all Funds, including the base salary ranges of all city employees and officers, effective January 1, 2010:


  8. Mr. Kellogg, I believe Wendy is looking for actual wages rather than salary ranges. A couple of years ago actual salaries were shown in the public notices in the Gardner News if my memory is correct. Citizens need to contact city hall to find out the information they want – it is their city and they have the right to know within 3 working days by completing and submitting an Open Records form if they give you any flack.

  9. Doesn’t look like anyone is underpaid there. Thanks Mr. Kellogg.

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