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Dardenne Prairie sets priorities for 2019 budget

The city plans to address chronic problems at the Barathaven Lake and trail in 2019. [Great Rivers Greenway photo]

Dardenne Prairie will be spending money in 2019 on parks and capital improvement projects that include road maintenance, sidewalk replacement and engineering work throughout the city.

The city’s 2019 budget, approved last month, calls for spending $3,534,273 with an estimated $4,679,590 in projected revenues. The city has a surplus of $1,145,317 available for capital improvement projects.

The vote was 4-1-1 in favor of the budget with aldermen Kevin Klingerman and Dave Wandling [both of Ward 1], Justin Ungerboeck [Ward 2] and John Gotway [Ward 3] voting to approve the budget and Blake Nay [Ward 2] casting the only no vote. Alderman Dan Koch [Ward 3] was absent.

Mayor David Zucker said the city has identified $1,193,450 in other capital improvement projects. It will draw $48,133 from its general fund reserve to cover that expense. The city’s total revenues are estimated at $4.67 million.

In all, the city plans to spend $1,651,000 in capital improvement projects in 2019, Zucker said. That amount will include $458,000 to pay for replacing concrete slabs in several subdivisions. The city also plans to continue a 10-year program of street maintenance and sidewalk replacements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Zucker said the city is continuing the engineering work and right-of-way acquisition for the Hanley Road improvement project and hiring an engineering firm to study the design and construction of a Route 364 interchange at Technology Drive. The city also plans to address chronic problems at the Barathaven Lake and trail, which require changes to the way water drains from the lake to Dardenne Creek.

The board agreed to spend $915,412 of the revenue generated by the parks and storm half-cent sales tax, approved by voters in 2017, on current parks and recreational operating expenses, including some employee salaries and new construction.

Zucker said a minority of board members preferred to spend the half-cent sales tax revenue only for new projects, such as the development of the old ball fields next to city hall on Hanley Road, and new facilities and recreational programs. The city expects to design and build improvements to the baseball fields next to city hall, including an upgrade to the gravel parking lot.

The city anticipates completion of a parks master plan begun in 2018 and reviewed by the board in Dec. 5.

Zucker said the budget discussion brought into focus the long-range planning that the city must do to keep with street maintenance and repair and the growth of parks and recreation facilities and program. “Forecasted revenue will not be enough to do it all,” Zucker said.

Revenue is a major issue for the city because the city hopes to obtain more sales tax revenue through economic development. The city’s general sales tax of 1 percent is the city’s major source of revenue and is expected to generate about $1.2 million. A half-cent capital improvement sales tax generates about $600,000, motor fuel tax about $461,000, the property tax of 10.54 cents per $100 assessed valuation about $309,000, road and bridge about $275,000, municipal court fines about $190,000 and the half-cent parks and stormwater sales tax about $600,000.

Beyond capital improvements, major expenditures in the 2019 budget include:

• $805,000 for debt service, partial rebate of general sales taxes to the Dardenne Towne Center Transportation Development District and Bryan Road Neighborhood Improvement District

• $806,000 for personnel costs

• $335,298 for the contract with St. Charles County Police Department for police services

• $650,000 for the road maintenance contract with St. Charles County

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