Thursday, June 07, 2018

Joplin City Council sets work session to discuss budget problems

(From the City of Joplin)

The City Council will hold a work session on Monday, June 11 to discuss the financial sustainability report presented at the June 4 Council meeting. The work session begins at 5:45 p.m. and will be held in the Council Chambers on the fifth floor of City Hall, 602 South Main Street. The public is welcome to attend to listen to the discussion, as the format of the meeting does not generally include a public comment period.

For the last several years, City of Joplin’s budget has been facing financial constraints. The sustainability report is the result of Council requesting City staff to identify ways to increase revenues and/or decrease expenditures that would help improve the long-term financial stability of the City.

Finance Director Leslie Haase presented the sustainability report that focuses on the general fund, which is used to cover the general operations of the City. It is also the only fund of the City’s 24 funds that does not have restricted uses. With this charge, Haase brought forward 38 options that address specific items that could bring more dollars into the budget and/or streamline processes and policies for more efficiencies to reduce expenses.

“This report gives council the necessary information to review and determine ways we can become more efficient in order to have the funds needed for various items, such as a sustainable pay plan for all employees,” said Joplin Mayor Gary Shaw. “It is a complex issue, however we recognize the need to get this resolved and we’ll be working diligently to find funding sources to address this, as well as other items to provide long-term sustainability for our City.”

Please note the Council Chambers has a maximum capacity of 200 people according the Joplin Fire Code, and will be enforced by the Fire Marshal who will be in attendance. To ensure that all can view the meeting, it will be streamed live on the City’s website at, or can also be viewed on Missouri Southern State University’s KGCS-TV. City staff also reminds the public that no outside food or drink is allowed in the Chambers.

A financial sustainability report for the City of Joplin was presented at Monday’s City Council meeting. 

For those who missed it or seeking more details, the report is listed at


Anonymous said...

1) Get rid of Haase. Why do we also have a financial analyst?
2) Quit paying the chamber of commerce. If we're paying them, what are the Business Development and Capital Improvement Project managers?
4) NO MORE TIFS. You want to help businesses? Help the local, small businesses and entrepreneurs.
5) No money for anything that isn't a top priority. Top priorities should be:
police & fire
street repairs including lights, etc.
cut the PIO
maintenance and up-keep of current facilities
Does the city clerk take minutes at the meetings? If not, combine with something else.
Can the visitors and convention bureau be combined with something else?
How about grants for:
parks & rec
There are 160 jobs listed on the website. I'm sure some of these are required due to regulations. Others need to be looked at to see if some responsibilities can be dispersed to others. There are an awful lot of assistants and assistants to assistants.
I think that most of what is here is very important. Unfortunately, we're in a financial spot. When that happens at home, we do without something or wait to do something. We're also having to clean up the mess from the crooks after the tornado. VERY painful and VERY necessary.
Before you complain that I don't know what all those jobs are/do, I do not attest to being any kind of expert on any of this stuff. I do know that the councils of the past (and I'm afraid, also the present) have not represented me or my family in what they have done.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

6:52PM......just for clarification, where would the grants for recycling, parks & rec, and the library come from? I may have misunderstood what you meant.

Anonymous said...

6:52 PM I would like to respond to your comments. First of all - Mrs. Haase was only doing her job in pointing out areas of possible cuts. Everything should be put on the table (when considering budget cuts) including police and fire costs.

Out of the general funds 28.3 million dollars - public safety costs (police and fire) - consume 19 million out of the 28.5 million dollar budget (or 68% of the totals). The police and fire departments - want to be off limits from any cuts - even though they consume a large portion of the budget.

Some of the possible cuts suggested by Haase:

Reduce minimum staffing levels from 4 to 3 on fire trucks (like similar cities) - would save 1 million dollars annually.

Out of the 71 city vehicles driven home (58 are for police). The benefit for taking these vehicles home - is not being shown on the W2's - and this practice was criticized by the state auditor.

Move newer police and fire employees from a city pension fund to a state pension fund - could save 1 million dollars annually.

These are some of the possible areas of cuts listed in the safety department.

A comparison should be done (say last 15 years) - showing the general fund amount spent each year - and by category. I think this would show - how much "safety costs" have grown when compared to other categories. How were the police and fire departments able to exist - before the safety tax was approved (about 12 years ago)? The safety tax provided 2.7 million to the police and 2.22 million to the fire departments this year.

So here is the bottom line - In order to increase police and fire pay - some painful cuts need to be made. The other option would be to increase either property or sales tax. I for one - WILL NOT vote for any tax increase.

The police and fire departments - since they consume the lions share of the resources - need to be open to having their costs examined for possible cuts. Ever time a potential cut is proposed - they play the "public safety card".

Anonymous said...

On the topic of driving city vehicles home, I see it alot. At least 2 police officers from Seneca drive city owned cars back to Joplin. In particular 1 parked across the street from the Joplin High school!!! On the way home I often end up behind a Webb City truck being driven home almost all the way to Seneca. I wonder if the taxpayers of these cities know how much of THEIR MONEY is being spent on this?? Oh and I say "THEIR MONEY" because obviously they people don't live in these communities so it's not THEIR MONEY they are wasting!!!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Haase is the reason the budget is in shambles. State audit related the system poor. She plays favorites with her pet projects and what she feels as priorities. How long has she worked there? And nothing is better. She's been a disaster for years using her power of purse to rid the city of good employees and keep others under her thumb.