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Council approves budget

The Farmington City Council approved the fiscal year 2019 budget during regular session on Monday.

During her report Finance Director Michelle Daniel thanked the council for their part in the work sessions held the past few months to formulate the budget for the next fiscal year.

The budget approved by council for fiscal year 2019 includes an operating budget of approximately $38.6 million, a debt service total at $3.1 million with $8.2 million in capital – bringing the total expenses at a little more than $50 million.

City Administrator Greg Beavers said the budget addressed sustaining, ongoing infrastructure activities as well as road improvement work. He noted most of the road improvement work in the approved budget will be completed before the end of this calendar year.

“Most of the work for that … will occur during the month of October and November,” he said. “We have about seven miles of road that are prepped for overlay right now. About every neighborhood will see or be affected by that.”

Continuing work includes the sewer main and manhole lining around the community – both of which the city administrator said will positively affect the occurrence of sewer overloads.

During the meeting, Beavers credited the work of department heads Larry Lacy from Public Works, Farmington Fire Chief Todd Mecey and Police Chief Rick Baker in budgeting those items not directly seen by the public, but make a difference in the lives of the community with changes and enhancements in the public safety component.

Among those is the addition of another school resource officer, bringing the total up to three full-time officers.

“We partner with the (Farmington R-7) schools on that,” he said. “They pay half the cost as it benefits them as well. We’re glad we are able to fund and do that.”

Other budgeted items include an expansion in the fire department. The city maintains a daily staffed firefighter crew of three individuals, augmented by the volunteers in the time of a structure fire. In December of 2016, the department added an additional crew for the alternate response crew.

The alternative response truck and its two-man crew began with the primary function to respond to EMS calls.

“We’ve had great success with that,” Beavers said. “With doing that, we’re not having simultaneous calls that result in a slower response time for our main fire crew, and it also ensures we have at least five firefighters on duty when we have a call and we don’t have part-timers that can respond.”

An additional crew will be added to the alternative response crew midway through the next fiscal year. In addition, the department will take delivery of the new mini-pumper truck to serve as this crew’s response vehicle.

“Fire Chief Mecey’s plan right now is to augment each of these crews with some of our part-time folks so we have two, three-man crews running during the bulk of our active time based on call service – which gives us six firemen on duty, two fire apparatus fully-staffed,” he said. “From a public safety standpoint, we’re making some significant investments this year, continuing investments and I think they’re smart.”

In other council action, an ordinance to accept easements along Karsch Boulevard was approved.

Pedestrian crossways are to be installed at the intersection with Potosi Street, along with the intersection of Walton Drive.

Beavers said the funding and design work are both complete, with the last piece to obtain the easements from Walmart and Lowe’s for the work. He noted both have been very responsive to the city for the requests of the easements and understand the need for the sidewalks in the area of pedestrian safety.

“They also get it is serving their customers that come to their stores,” Beavers said, noting Lacy is in contact with the legal departments of both for the requests.

Also during the meeting, Mayor Larry Forsythe presented a proclamation declaring the month of October as “Operation Christmas Child” month. Jill McDowell and Gene Wilfong were on hand to accept the proclamation. McDowell, along with her husband, John, serve in community relations for the Southeast Missouri District of Operation Christmas Child – a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.

Wilfong and his wife, Barbara, serve as directors for the Southeast Missouri District – which encompasses nine counties. Last year, more than 17,000 shoeboxes were packed, donated and shipped from the district for worldwide distribution.

The ministry marks 25 years this year, with the collection week set for Nov. 12-19.

Two public hearings – and the subsequent first readings by title only in administrative items – were postponed to the Oct. 11 council meeting.

Farmington Mayor Larry Forsythe, left, presents a proclamation declaring October as

Farmington Mayor Larry Forsythe, left, presents a proclamation declaring October as “Operation Christmas Child Month” to Jill McDowell and Gene Wilfong. Wilfong and his wife, Barbara, serve as coordinators for the Southeast Missouri District of the Samaritan’s Purse ministry. McDowell and her husband, John, serve in community relations. More information on the program can be found at samaritanspurse.org. 

Ward II Councilman Dr. Dennis Robinson, left, visits with Ward III Councilman Wayne Linnenbringer, center, and Ward II Councilman John Crouch before the start of the Farmington City Council meeting on Monday. 

Ward II Councilman Dr. Dennis Robinson, left, visits with Ward III Councilman Wayne Linnenbringer, center, and Ward II Councilman John Crouch before the start of the Farmington City Council meeting on Monday. 

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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