Good News From Two Fronts… 

This month’s Corner is not a case of, “I’ve got good news and bad news”.  The two subjects are not directly related but affect you, the citizen.  And let me hear from you about this or any other concerns. 

Budget for 2008-2009 Approved 

The City Council at its regularly scheduled meeting of June 3 approved our fiscal 2008 -2009 budget (see on page __).  In my February 2008 Mayor’s Corner, entitled A Budget “Heads Up”, I discussed concerns about our City finances.  The article pointed out, we have been and are expecting to be running an annual deficit.  I discussed several possible alternatives, i.e. property tax increase, reduction in our sanitation services (once a week or no back door).  I also pointed out my preliminary recommendation was a property tax increase but it was preliminary until: we hear from you; had more Council discussion; and made a more in depth review of the closing 2007-2008 actuals.  With that background, a look at the 2008-2009 budget highlights: 

1) Police protection ($382,608) and sanitation ($385,400) are 75% of our total expenses.  These two expenditures have always been our largest - and rightfully so, protecting individuals and the environment.  

Our 2008-2009 contract with St. Louis County Police is a reduction of $1,200 from last year.  And our sanitation contract is to be renewed October 1, 2008 with indication of a 3% increase.  Controlling these major costs allows us to project our 2008-2009 expense at $1,025,715, that’s $2,000 less the actual amount for this year (2007-2008) of $1,027,715. 

On the revenue side, our biggest contributor, sales revenue, has been growing at 3% or less the last five years.  Based on this past trend and the short-term future, we can’t expect any substantial increase in revenues.  The good news is we have a $500,000 surplus and therefore we believe a decision on how best to balance the budget can wait for at least one or more budget cycles. 

RECYCLE            RECYCLE            RECYCLE 

You continue to recycle and more of you are getting the newer, large recycling bins.  Have you noticed less “trash” in your trash bin?  Many have.  Has this affected your thoughts about our trash pickup schedule?  The Council would like to know your preference: 

You can let us know by going to our website and click on Trash Pickup Survey. 

Fire Protection 

For those cities not having fire departments, fire protection districts provide fire protection throughout St. Louis County.  Clarkson Valley is serviced by two distinct districts.  Where you live is the determinant.  The Monarch Fire Protection District provides service to the largest number of Clarkson Valley residences – about 75% while the Metro West Fire Protection District covers the remaining homes.  As you know, when purchasing home insurance, a portion of your premium is for fire protection.  The determination of your rate is based on various factors, a very important one being the fire protection district’s Public Protection Classification, the lower the number, the better for your rate.  Recently, the Monarch District underwent a Public Protection Classification Survey by the Insurance Services Office (ISO).  This survey is performed periodically to assess the effectiveness of the fire district.  Fire Districts are then given a classification from 1 to 10 with 1 being the best.  During this survey, the ISO evaluated the fire district’s many categories, including fire house placement, staffing, equipment carried on trucks, fire hydrant flow capabilities, fire hydrant inspections, commercial building pre-fire planning and inspections, 911 dispatching, and training.  The survey results determine the district classification.  The fire districts work hard to address the above issues, with the goal of improving their Public Protection Classification, which in turn could result in lower insurance rates for the residents and businesses.  Monarch happily announced at our June 3rd Council meeting the results of a recent survey for their portion of Clarkson Valley, an improved classification to a 2.  There were formerly classified as 4.  Metro West is not scheduled for a survey in the near future; however, their classification is a solid 3.  We should all be pleased with such good news, but even more than just happy, we can feel more secure knowing we have excellent fire protection.