The city of Joplin’s spending in the proposed 2020 budget is set to go down another $20 million from the current year’s budget.

That number has declined substantially over the past few years as Joplin spends down disaster recovery grant money for repairs required by the 2011 tornado.

A presentation on the budget proposal will be heard by the City Council at its meeting Monday night.

This year's spending is proposed at slightly more than $105.1 million, compared with $125.4 million in 2019. A year earlier, that number was $145 million. The reduction in spending is largely because of the declining amount the city has left to spend from $158 million in disaster recovery funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after the tornado. The city's deadline to spend most of that money is next month.

Revenues in the new budget are forecast at more than $115.6 million. A modest 1.5% increase in sales taxes is projected. Sales taxes are estimated to produce about $38.5 million of revenues.

The council also will hear an update of the proposed Boomtown tax increment financing district.

A Lake of the Ozarks development group, Summit Denali, proposes to spend $87 million to turn vacant property along John Q. Hammons Boulevard near the city’s busiest business corridor, Range Line Road and Interstate 44, into the Boomtown Central Shopping Center. The proposal includes an anchor store — a Menard home improvement store— with the possibility of providing a Hy-Vee grocery store and gas station, a new movie theater, restaurants and retail shopping.

The city's TIF commission heard a proposal Aug. 8 for TIF financing, which returns half of the increased sales tax revenue it produces for up to 23 years to developers to repay property development costs such as streets and sewers.

TIF commissioners, which included representatives of the Joplin School District and Jasper County, voted unanimously to recommend that the council grant the TIF although the city finance director, Leslie Haase, asked the commission to delay the decision while the city obtained a second financial study of the proposal. The city, school district and county all give up some new revenue in property and sales taxes temporarily when a TIF is granted.

Haase said further study was needed because of the possibility that some current Joplin retailers would move to the new center from other shopping centers where TIFs have not yet been closed out, which could short the city tax revenue. Summit Denali's other retail developments in the Lake of the Ozarks area hold many of the same retailers already located in Joplin.

In other business, the council is to appoint a residents' committee that will be asked to make presentations to local organizations and groups about a proposal for a half-cent increase in the city's general sales tax that would be designated to close out the underfunded Police and Firemen's Pension Fund.

The Joplin City Council voted at a special meeting Aug. 12 to ask voters Nov. 5 to approve the tax. Support for the proposal was offered at the meeting by representatives of the fire and police departments along with Mayor Gary Shaw. They also spoke on behalf of a work group of city officials that examined the issue of police and fire recruitment and retention, and found the pension to be an obstacle to hiring and keeping staff.

In other business, the council will be asked to approve grants from the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau totaling $113,560 to help stage Joplin festivals and events.

The grant applications are reviewed by the advisory board of the convention bureau,which also hears presentations from the applicants before deciding which ones should be funded and for how much. This year the bureau received 17 funding applications from 17 organizations totaling $211,200; however, only $140,000 is available.

Money not awarded in this initial round is made available to requests through the budget year.

When, where

The City Council meets at 6 p.m. Monday on the fifth floor of City Hall, 602 S. Main St.

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