Platte City approves budget, amends it minutes later

The Platte City Board of Aldermen approved the budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year during Tuesday’s regular meeting — then amended the document just a few minutes later. In an effort to save time and resources, an expenditure for a storm water project slated for Florentina Avenue went on as an amendment. The project hopes to alleviate excess runoff and blockage in the area due to the commercial buildings located adjacent on Highway 92.

The approximately $50,000 project will only happen if Platte City receives a grant from Platte County, and city administrator DJ Gehrt deemed the changing of every number and an all-new printed out version of the large budget document unnecessary.

“We saved some trees and ended up with the same result, and we thought that was good,” he said before the board unanimously approved the amendment. “Although, it is the shortest unamended budget in history.”

The budget supported during a workshop held last month also received unanimous approval.

To help facilitate the projected revenues for the fiscal year, which begins Nov. 1, the board also approved a change to city ordinance affecting water and refuse rates. All residential and commercial customers will see an increase of $1 per month in base fees for trash service, while the new water rates will cost the average customer about $1.68 per month.

Residents will see the new rates on their December bill for all services used on and after Nov. 1.

The increases hope to offset continued escalating costs associated with the service, while also helping Platte City eliminate the need to use reserve funds to balance out operating losses.

The rest of the budget continues to aim at economic development in an attempt to increase revenue. Platte City has experienced fairly flat sales tax numbers since 2008, and two major projects slated for the coming fiscal year hope to kickstart an increase in commercial activity. Construction of new sewer lines running to the east side of Interstate 29 near the Highway 92 exits starts the process of the city and a private partner developing commercial properties, while the extension of Kentucky Avenue in partnership with the Missouri Department of Transportation into the back side of QuikTrip and McDonald’s aims to anchor those businesses in that location by easing traffic concerns.

Gehrt did report at Tuesday’s meeting that Platte City has seen a 6 percent year-to-date increase in sales tax numbers. The past three months have helped push the revenue for the fiscal year to $50,000 past projections, and numbers reported in October could lead to a surplus for the whole year. Any money beyond $25,000 from September would push the number past the budgeted amount.

In other business, the board approved changes to the municipal code, adopting various 2012 international building codes, the 2009 energy conservation code and the 2011 national electric code. This puts Platte City in close correlation to codes Platte County recently adopted for unincorporated areas. Platte City’s codes have a few more exceptions but no major differences.