Friday, August 29, 2008

City Talk - Rolla 2020 Fiscal Advisory Committee helps chart Rolla's Future

Planning for the future of our City, and especially our City’s financial future and how it will impact our quality of life for years to come, is something the members of the Rolla 2020 Fiscal Advisory Committee recently accomplished since they began meeting in January of this year.

With the City of Rolla’s annual Budget Workshop meetings scheduled for next Tuesday, Aug. 26 and Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall, the final recommendation of the Rolla 2020 Fiscal Advisory Committee given by Rolla City Councilman Lou Magdits recently should be very helpful as the City Council reviews the City’s proposed 2008-2009 annual budget and charts a vision for Rolla’s future.

My sincere thanks and appreciation is extended to all the official and ex-officio members of the Rolla 2020 Fiscal Advisory Committee who spent numerous hours meeting on a regular basis for the past seven months at Rolla City Hall. The members of the committee included: Chairman and City Council member Lou Magdits; Co-Chair Emma Lou Brent; Councilman Don Barklage; Wayne Perry (US Bank); Terry Harris (investments); Jess Cortese (Brewer Science); Doug Cresswell (retail); Rodney Creech (retail); David McKee (Phelps County Bank); Bob McKune; Kate Howell (real estate); Ex Officio members Steffanie Rogers, Finance Director, City of Rolla, and Rolla City Administrator John Butz.

All of the Policy Statements and policy recommendations that were included in the final recommendation by the Rolla 2020 Fiscal Advisory Committee were included in the full agenda packet for the Aug. 18 City Council meeting, and can be reviewed and downloaded on the City of Rolla’s Website at Hard copies of the recommendation are also available in the Administration Department at Rolla City Hall located at 901 North Elm Street. If you haven’t had the opportunity to review these policy statement and recommendations, I encourage you to take a few minutes to do so. The five policy statements included among the recommendations will also be posted and displayed in the Council Chambers in the near future for the members of the City Council and general public to view as well.

In summary, the policy statements emphasize the importance of demonstrating fiscal discipline, sustaining existing City services and infrastructure as a priority over new and expanded programs and services, the active pursuit of creative partnerships, and consolidation of public services. The policy statement also states before funding new and expanded services, the City should first consider the practicality and feasibility of user fees, and that user fees should be considered when the primary beneficiary is a small segment of the population. The final policy statement states that any new or expanded program or service should first identify funding alternatives and secure funding before implementation.

After the City Council reviews and formally endorses the specific policy recommendations made by the Rolla 2020 Fiscal Advisory Committee sometime in September, a Park Sales Task Force will be formed to further explore the options regarding the Park Sales Tax of ½ cent that was approved by Rolla voters in August, 1998 with an effective date of Jan. 1, 1999. The tax is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2013. The dedicated sales tax was approved to retire the debt service payments on an $11.7 million GO Bond issued to construct the SplashZone, Rolla outdoor waterpark and The Centre, Rolla Health and Recreation Complex.

I will continue to keep you updated regarding the recommendations of the Rolla 2020 Fiscal Advisory Committee and the formation of the Parks Sales Task Force. You may review the specific policy recommendations as outlined in the Aug. 18 City Council Meeting agenda packet under VII. B - “Rolla 2020 Fiscal Advisory Committee – Preliminary Report” at

Sincerely, William S. Jenks, III, Mayor