Social service options on agenda

By Burk Krohe

Money will be the topic at Tuesday’s city work session.  Commissioners will discuss options for city-sponsored donation programs for social services. They will also hear a revenue projection and general fund forecast for the coming year. The work session will begin at 5 p.m.

Bernie Hayen, city finance director, notes in a city memorandum that the city has a long history of funding budgeting funds expressly for social services. But during the last year’s budget process, there was extensive discussion about reducing the agencies’ funding. Although social services were funded at the requested amount for 2012, commissioners Wynn Butler and John Matta made it clear they would be looking at alternative funding sources in the coming years.

City officials surveyed a number of comparable cities that have used alternative funding programs for social services. Information from six cities — Coffeyville, Dodge City, Garden City, Hutchinson, Salina and Olathe — will be presented to commissioners Tuesday. From those six, the city has identified a variety of possible programs.

The first is a voluntary purchasing card program for city vendors. It would allow for a bank-issued purchase card (p-card) to pay city vendors who agree to the program. The vendor would pay the credit card fee, which typically accounts for a percentage of the monthly invoice. The city would receive a small tiered-structured percentage return depending on the vendors payments. The finance department believes the potential revenues could be anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000 annually.

There is also an option for a similar city credit card program. It would allow for a bank-issued credit card marked as city-sponsored. Qualifying individuals would be able to get the cards through local banks, and the city would receive a small percentage return depending on the amount of monthly charges.  The finance department believes the potential revenues could be anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 annually.

Other options would utilize utility fees.

A voluntary round-up program on monthly utility bills would let utility customers have their monthly utility bills rounded upward to the nearest whole dollar. The difference would go to a special account.  The finance department believes the potential revenues could be anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 annually.

A similar program would allow utility customers to sign up for a recurring donation as part of their monthly utility bills. The finance department believes the potential revenues could be anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 annually.

The last proposed option is a voluntary donation program on recreation fees. It would allow for individuals participating in city recreation programs to also donate an amount added to the recreation fees. The donated revenue would need to be separated from the recreation fees on a monthly basis to a special account. The finance department believes the potential revenues could be anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 annually.

Commissioners will also hear a report on revenue projections.

The city finance department reports on city revenues before the budget discussions annually. The overview is intended to provided a snapshot of key funding revenue sources for 2013. The presentation will focus mainly on the city’s general and bond and interest funds. City enterprise funds will also be covered.









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