Finance Director Cautions Council On Spending, To Look At Big Picture


At the Finance Committee meeting on November 18, 2019, John Gabriel, Council Member, said city council received updates recently from the Finance Director on the carryover amount going into next year and wondered what main item changed these amounts.

Amy Hendricks, Finance Director, replied that it’s a conservative or worse-case scenario type of estimate, but at this point it’s the best information they have. It includes a three percent increase on non-payroll/non-personnel related expense, and it includes the 12% health insurance increase. Additionally, they don’t have the run-off claims they had anticipated during 2019 when they switched the insurance plans, so they were able to use some of those reserves they had in the self-insurance fund. They have been using those to help decrease their city expense towards this through the year, so right now she isn’t sure how long those will last based on this information. Also, she kept revenue flat with some of the high-water situations.

The city did have about $190,000 in one-time revenue come back into the general fund this year, which was a repayment from the water fund from about $170,000 that had been advanced five or six years ago, and the fund had not been healthy enough to repay. Also, with the pool scenario, they didn’t have those donations that offset some of the 2019 expenses. Additionally, it was indicated from Meeder Associates that the city will probably lose about $50,000 a year in investment income. She isn’t panicked, and hopes she didn’t instill a sense of panic when she presented this information - but she felt they were in a situation where they are starting to make some ground and build some reserve to start to plan with those operating expenses.

Hendricks said she is hearing people say – well the city saved money on this, so they should be able to start doing that. Therefore, her point is cautionary, so they don’t start slipping. They have a long way to go, and there are a lot of good things they can do. She just wants everyone to be mindful when looking at different opportunities of savings and looking at new types of revenues, especially in the big picture.