KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The city of Blue Springs will now pay its employees a $15 minimum wage after the City Council adopted an $83.5-million budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year Monday.
The budget, which goes into effect Oct. 1, also includes increased funding for several road projects, additional infrastructure improvements and outlines the next phase of projects at municipal parks.
The new minimum wage, which also includes salary adjustments for current employees, is an effort to “recruit and sustain a dedicated work-force.”
The city joins Jackson County in implementing a $15 minimum wage. County Executive Frank White Jr. announced the county’s policy change in February 2020, which phased in raises from 2020-22.
Blue Springs also plans to implement the LAGERS L-6 retirement plan for employees.
Additionally, the city plans to hire five new positions — an economic development manager, a sergeant, a dispatcher, an administrative assistant and two part-time dispatchers.
Blue Springs pared back its capital improvement outlays last year among concerns about how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact tax revenues.
“When the pandemic first hit, it was unclear how the annual budget would be affected and therefore, staff took a very conservative approach to the 2021 budget,” City Administrator Eric Johnson said in a letter to the Blue Springs City Council laying out the budget proposal.
The 2021-22 budget reflects a nearly 21% increase overall from the previous fiscal year’s initial budget — though a series of amendments pushed the 2020-21 fiscal year budget to $84.1, including CARES Act money and additional tax revenue, according to city officials.
The 2021-22 fiscal-year budget does not include the $6,190,665 allocated to Blue Springs in the American Rescue Plan yet.
The new budget adds $4 million to the Street Pavement Maintenance Program, more than doubling the fund for repaving and repairing streets to $6.8 million.
There is also $2.7 million budgeted specifically for improvement to the Jefferson Street and Wyatt road projects.
“Improving the conditions of our City’s streets has been a top-priority for our residents for the last several years,” Mayor Carson Ross said. “This year we were able to put an additional $4 million to get a jump-start on street improvements. We hope that we will continue to find ways to increase funding for much-needed street improvements in the future.”
Nearly $3 million has been allocated for water and sewer system improvements with more than $400,000 for the sidewalk program.
Among priorities for the city’s half-cent Parks Sales Tax are restrooms at Blue Springs Park and Young Park, a parking lot and roof replacement for the concession stand at Hidden Valley Park, a playground renovation at Woods Chapel Park and construction documents for the Blue Springs Aquatic Center.