he Riverside Board of Aldermen learned at their Tuesday night meeting that with one quarter down in the current fiscal year, the city has a balance of just over $28 million in bond proceeds.
The city received bond proceeds last year for $40,265,000 and has already earned about $182,000 in interest, said Donna Resz, finance officer. Expenditures of $12,375,432 brought the balance to $28,072,272.
“By the time all of the bond proceeds are spent, right now I think that we will earn about $2 million on those proceeds in interest,” she said. “I think it’s very beneficial in the sense that it really gives you $2 million more on a project at no cost to you.”
The only bad news Resz had to report on investments was that interest rates have dropped over the past six months. Rates held steady at 5.25 to 5.27 percent from April through July. Then they fell to 4.95 percent in August and 4.61 percent in September. It’s possible that rates could drop again, she said.
She said that it appeared that all departments would come in under budget for expenditures for the first quarter, with the exception of the police services division. She said that one reason the department will exceed its overtime budget was due to injuries, which required personnel to work overtime to cover shifts.
“Another thing that really impacted their budget was the Metro Squad investigation of a homicide,” she said.
Resz told the board that there have been three banking changes. The first was to switch the merchant services vendor, which enables the city to accept credit card payments at the municipal court and dispatch.
“Taking credit cards is just expensive,” said Resz.
She said that a new vendor through United Missouri Bank has lower fees associated with credit card transactions. Also, the money from credit card transactions would be in the city’s account the following day instead of the current three to four day timeframe. But the biggest selling point was the fact that the city can access the vendor’s software on the Internet.
“So, unless the Internet becomes out of date, we shouldn’t have to worry about technology issues insofar as upgrading software,” said Resz. “And another benefit of going to this software was that it would be very compatible if someday we want to put a connection on our Web site to allow people to pay for municipal court or pet licenses online,” she said.
Another change in banking is the addition of a free service from UMB. Global Check Recovery steps in if a check is returned unpaid for insufficient funds, attempts to recover the funds, and sends a letter to the account holder.
The third change is that they are exploring a process whereby routine bills would be sent to a post office box, and then UMB would collect and deposit the money into the city’s account. She said that currently the city pays an employee mileage to drive to the bank regularly to make deposits, so this service for $70 per month may be worth it.
“I think it protects our employees and reduces the number of trips of going to the bank,” she said.
The Argosy Casino is steadily gaining market share, which is good news for Riverside.
“So far gaming revenues are up,” said Resz. “Our fiscal year-to-date collections are about $300,000 more than they were this time last year.”
Resz told the aldermen that it was time to begin thinking about the 2008 through 2013 Capital Improvement Plan and encouraged the board and the community to consider projects that need to be accomplished. Resz hopes that her staff can begin working on the budget by the end of October and present it to the board in November.