The Hastings City Council held a public hearing and approved the city’s budget for fiscal year 2016-2017 as well as millage to support it with 16.0714 mills for general operations and 0.7500 mill for Riverside Cemetery.
Anticipated General Fund revenues and transfers total $5,181,000, while expected expenditures are transfers out in the general fund total $5,468,000, resulting in a slight decrease in the general fund balance, City Manager Jeff Mansfield said.
“This is due in large part to the lingering impact of the sluggish economy on our general fund revenues, but also due to changes at the state level that have adversely impacted our local revenue stream for a number of years now,” Mansfield said.
“However, we anticipated these reduced revenues some years back, and built our fund balance accordingly to help us through these challenging times,” he said.
In other business Monday, May 23, DPS Director Lee Hays said the original $15,000 cost estimate of the proposed Veterans Memorial Park at the entrance to Tyden Park has increased to $26,000 because of some additions to the memorial and some “faulty estimates,” which Hays said were his. To stay within the budget, Hays suggested doing the work in two phases, however, the council voted to amend this year’s budget to include the $11,000 overage and do the project now.
The only objection came from Councilwoman Brenda McNabb-Stange who voted not to fund the entire project now. “It was to be a private project. This puts it on the taxpayers and I don’t agree with that,” she said.
Mayor Frank Campbell, who has said several times that Hastings should have its own veteran’s memorial and pushed to get it done before he leaves office at the end of the year, pledged to raise money for the project. “I will see some people. I will try to raise some money and give it back to the city. I’d like to see it done, we got it this far.”
The area, 40 by 40 foot, will feature stamped concrete, flag poles, pole lighting, brick columns and fence restoration and installation. Several small monuments to veterans now on the Barry County Courthouse lawn will be moved to the new park.
The good news is that with the many donations of labor and equipment that Hays secured, the city will get a Veterans Memorial Park worth $60,000 for its $26,000 investment.