Special to The Gardner News
Ron Conus, Edgerton councilman, raised concerns about the growth of city bureaucracy during budget discussions at a city council meeting Aug. 23.
Conus said he was concerned that the city government was growing faster than revenues raised in the last couple of years.
According to budget estimates presented by Karen Kindle, finance director, the city will spend $941,959 on general government expenditure compared to the $604,915 the city spent during the 2016 budget year.
Beth Linn, city administrator, said the city has added new employees, and the estimates include costs for consultants.
“The general government covers a lot of things that are not visible, for example consultants,” she explained.
Linn said Edgerton city employees also perform many roles besides their core competencies.
“Our employees wear many hats even when compared with other cities,” she said.
Linn explained that some projected estimates would not translate into actual costs, and the council’s approval is required for every dollar spent.
Conus asked whether the city has developed metrics to measure government efficiency.
Don Roberts, mayor, said part of the reason expenditures on government have exceeded revenues is the significant reduction in the mill levy for city residents.
“We had the highest mill levy in Johnson County. Now we are in the middle. The goal is to ease the burden on citizens,” Roberts said.
Conus voted against the budget resolution which passed 5-1.
The city expects an increase in revenues through property taxes, levies from new buildings at the Logistics Park, sales tax and investment income through a partnership with Columbia Capital. Other sources include licenses and permits and court fines due to an increase in municipal court caseload.
According to the overview, city expenditures are expected to increase due to flood cleanup, the hiring of additional employees and increases in the cost of commodities and services.
The city added two employees in 2018, a customer service specialist and a marketing and communications coordinator. The city also absorbed a 13.7 increase increase in the contract for police services with the sheriff department.
The budget projects an estimated $3.8 million in revenues for the general fund against expenditures of $3.6 million.
The water fund is projected to generate $504,500 against projected expenditures of $538,721 while the sewer funds will generate $659,750 against expenditures of $621, 155.
The city also maintains a special highway fund, a parks and recreation fund and a bond and interest fund.
In other business, the council approved a service agreement with Institute for building technology and safety (IBTS) for site plan review and building inspection services and an agreement with BG consultants for engineering design service for a proposed multi-use path along highway 56 from 1st street to 8th street.