Friends & Neighbors,
Today I am initiating a new policy which is to send you notice of City meetings before they happen instead of giving you reports of those meetings after the fact.
The next Board of Aldermen meeting is tonight (in future I intend to provide better advance notice) August 2 at City Hall beginning at 5:30 PM.
In the Workshop at 5:30 we will be discussing plans for expansion of parks & recreation programs. We want to invite the public to let us know what kinds of recreation programs you would like the City to add to its existing menu. We know our City Park is full most of the time and that our monthly senior programs are well attended. Spring baseball and softball are well attended. What else would you like the City to offer? The Board is considering whether to place on the November 7 ballot a proposition to raise the City’s sales tax by one half cent to pay for building and operating an expanded parks & recreation program. This is a step intended to improve the quality of life for residents of Dardenne Prairie.
If approved by the voters the sales tax would bring in about $571,000 per year. That would provide enough revenue to finance about $6 million to construct a community center building and some outdoor park amenities on city property at the corner of Post Rd and Highway N. Other park amenities would be installed on the 10 acre parcel in subsequent years. We would expect revenue from the half cent sales tax to provide enough to service a $6 million debt and to pay for additional operating costs generated by an expanded parks & recreation program. We looked at the financial impact to residents who will be asked to vote on the tax hike. If you spend $500 a month in Dardenne Prairie the extra tax will cost you only $30 per year or $2.50 per month. People who live outside of Dardenne Prairie but who shop here will also pay the tax which would help support our parks & recreation programs.
Please come to our meetings and let us know what kind of programs you would like to see added to the parks & recreation menu.
At Wednesday’s meeting we will also discuss the status of the proposed annexation into the City of 8 parcels of unincorporated St. Charles County. Notices have been provided to property owners. A special meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be convened on Tuesday, August 22 to hold a public hearing on the proposed annexations. We plan to put the matter of those annexations to a vote of the people on November 7.
The City does not presently have a formal policy regarding maintenance of a financial reserve (I call it the “piggy bank”). Today we hold about $3.5 million in reserve in the general fund. Our annual operating expenses paid out of the general fund amounts to about $1.9 million. Our total revenue from all sources and our budget for all expenses, including capital improvements is about $3.5 million. Some cities maintain a piggy bank equal to about 3 months of operating expenses. Some more conservative cities hold a larger piggy bank. Dardenne Prairie is considering holding a reserve in the general fund equal to a year’s worth of operating expenses. If that policy is adopted we will have up to $1.5 million in funds available for additional capital improvements in 2018 and subsequent fiscal years.
I urge you to come to the Board of Aldermen meeting tonight. See your City Government at work and offer you view regarding expanded parks & recreation, annexation, and financial reserve policy.
“Shine a Light on City Government”
DAVID C. ZUCKER
City of Dardenne Prairie, MO