Fort Smith Board approves 2022 general fund budget of $47.584 million

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 352 views 

The Fort Smith Board of Directors unanimously approved a base budget for 2022 Thursday night (Dec. 2) that includes 5% reserve balance in each city department as well as a 4.7% employee raise.

The budget projects revenue for 2022 in the general fund at $47.584 million. An amended 2021 budget, also approved Thursday night lists revenues for this year at $44.31 million. Estimated expenditures in the general fund for 2022 are budgeted at $49.538 million. In the amended budget for this year, expenditures are listed at $55.776 million. The fund balance for the general fund going into 2021 was $25.543 million. The fund balance going into 2022 is budgeted to be $19.348 million.

The 2022 budget calls for $8.9 million in expenditures for the streets department, a 1.14% increase from the $8.8 million in the amended 2021 budget. That budget includes appropriating money from the street maintenance fund balance to construct public improvements and purchase equipment.

The department’s street maintenance fund balance is at approximately 100%, according to Matt Meeker, director of streets and traffic control. Estimated improvements – including repairing flood damage at Carol Ann Cross Park, automatic floodgates on North 66th Street at No Name Creek, replacing some sidewalks, purchasing additional snow and ice removal and treatment equipment and other projects are estimated to cost $2.6 million. That would still leave about $8.03 million, 91.24% in the department’s reserve fund.

Expenditures for the water and sewer department for 2022 are budgeted at $59.92 million, a 2.6% increase from the $58.41 million in the 2021 amended budget. Expenditures for the solid waste department for 2022 are budgeted at $20.5 million, up 16.5% from the $17.6 million in the amended 2021 budget.

“I’m pretty happy with the proposed budget we have here … and being able to add some salary increase while still maintaining a healthy fund balance,” said City Finance Director Andrew Richards. “It’s a good budget.”

The 2022 operating budget includes an increase in transit for the downtown area involving bus stop shelters with enclosed artwork. Funding for the improvements include a $160,000 revenue capital grant from Transit Federal, $40,000 in donations and $200,000 in other capital outlay improvements.

The budget also includes $20,000 for upgrades to the Blue Lion facility and an addition of a new Community Development Block Grant director funded through CDBG and HOME federal programs. City Administrator Carl Geffken said the budget is similar to the 2021 budget but updated to address new needs.