After a budget work session on Saturday, the city of Fulton has a balanced budget to vote on at the next City Council meeting.
The balanced budget is a result of good planning over several years by the council and citizens, according to City Administrator Randy Balk.
“Our city has been very proactive in dealing with issues and projects,” Balk said.
Major capital items in the budget include a new police squad car, a new mower for the parks, new water and sewer infrastructure for the Heritage Addition and two new wells among other things. Other items include a new pickup to replace one from 1991 and replacing dike lighting on the bike trail.
The Capitol Improvement Plan was a key component of the budget discussion, according to Mayor Larry Russell. The plan covers street, sanitary and watermain improvements, including a new waterworks building.
“It is unbelievable the amount of projects we are doing for a town of our size,” Public Works Director Dan Clark said.
The $3 million waterworks building project will include well rehabilitation, a new filter and a new well. This is a major project for the city as well as a key component of the budget. The old well and water tank are being torn down to house the new waterworks building that will be located at 16th Avenue and 11th Street. It will include a stand-by generator and an underground tank for storage of backwash water when the filter is being cleaned. There will be four separate cells for filtering to provide a multi-step process for cleaning the filter.
A laboratory for testing water for iron and manganese is also part of the facility. The water filtering process is automatic, but there will be daily testings and inspections. The main reason for the new facility was the high level of iron and manganese in the well. There is also ample space for an HMO plant area to treat radium in the water if need be. The project will go out for bids on April 13 and those will be brought to City Council on April 16.
Street improvements include cleaning, reclaiming and overlaying pavement and sanitary sewer lining. Water system improvements include watermain replacement and water transmission mains. An undersized watermain that needed repair frequently is being replaced and the water transmission main loop is being completed to reinforce smaller watermains to improve water volume and residual pressures throughout the system. Street improvements will be done on 31.2 miles of streets for a total of $2,371,000. Water and sewer costs account for $5,297,000 of the improvement plan.
Updating the city website was another topic discussed at the session. The current website is running on Joomla 1.0, which is approximately five years out of date, according to City Tourism Director Heather Bennett. The current version available is Joomla 2.5. Having the website upgraded, updated and refreshed by TDG Communications would cost $4,800. This includes several developments such as interface design and build, customization, content editing and news feed setup among other things.
“We continue to be a growing destination for visitors and commerce,” Russell said. “We need to keep the website up to date for our visitors.”
Russell says they also allocated funds for a summer intern to help out Bennett.
In regard to revenue, the municipal utility tax has provided $120,000 for the city. This is one of several revenue components that has helped the city maintain a balanced budget. Other sources of revenue include the 2011-2012 tax levy, state shared municipal revenue and general fund revenue.
Both Balk and Russell feel the budget is well balanced and the city is continuing to move in the right direction.
“Things are in place to keep the budget balanced for years to come,” Russell said.