Joplin City Council Votes to Transfer Funds in Work Session

Joplin City Council Votes to Transfer Funds in Work Session
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A work session, Monday, for Joplin City Council members leads to payment changes on a multi-million dollar city debt and the transfer of funds from the JHAP program.

The Joplin City Council unanimously votes to deposit $2.87 million into an account to pay off the city’s remaining debt from renovations including turning the Newman building into city hall.

The alternative option would have the city continuing to make annual payments of $430 thousand towards the debt.

The decisions won’t save the city any money but will free the city of a $430 thousand dollar annual expense in future budgets.

“Obviously this year we had some budget constraints. and so looking forward to next year, trying to avoid some of those budget constraints,” Joplin Finance Director Leslie Haase said. “But on the flip side, you’re going to take money out of unrestricted fund balance to do that. and you would need to build that fund balance back up over time.”

The issue will need to be voted on again during a council meeting.

Public Works Director Nick Heatherly gives a general update on the status and future of the city’s infrastructure.

He also shows the council a template of the departments unfunded needs list. It’s a way to identify and keep track of citizens concerns and possible projects for the future.

The department’s budget is set, but Heatherly says the information should be useful for the council in future decisions.

“You don’t necessarily have the resources right now to deal with all of these issues,” Heatherly said. “No community has that level of resources. so the challenge is always dealing with the needs you have, with the resources you have available.”

The public works presentation is just informational. The council does not take a vote on anything presented.

The council does vote 6-2 to move forward on main street infrastructure, using the extra funds remaining from JHAP.

The Director of Planning, Development, and Neighborhood services, Troy Bolander, said JHAP already met it’s goal for construction and housing.

Bolander said JHAP may have moved from being a disaster recovery program to an entitlement program, propping up the housing market.

The council will need to vote on the transfer of funds again during a regular city council meeting.