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Minet Budget Looks Better Than In Past

INDEPENDENCE — After some confusion about how many people should be on MINET’s budget committee — six or 12 — General Manager Don Patten went over MINET’s fiscal plan for 2013-14.    “As MINET enters its ninth year of operation, it finds itself growing the business, increasing service quality and improving financial performance,” Patten said in his budget message.    However, MINET continues to be unable to generate enough cash flow to pay for debt service and capital expenditure requirements, he added.    MINET has borrowed $27.7 million to date for startup expenditures and investments in capital assets from the cities of Monmouth and Independence, Patten continued, referring to what he called the “800-pound elephant in the room.”    Lack of an early marketing campaign contributed to less-than-expected growth by MINET in its early years, Patten said in the message, but for fiscal year 2014-15, he anticipates being able to fully fund capital expenditures and pay for a “substantial portion of its debt services requirements” with minimal assistance from the cities.    Both Monmouth and Independence 2013-14 city budgets account for MINET’s debt service, with roughly $1 million coming out of each. The city of Monmouth pays MINET’s debt service out of its Power and Light fund, while Independence uses its water utility fund.    MINET’s debt service obligations for 2014-15 is $2,047,863.84.    “MINET believes it should be able to fund a substantial amount of the debt service with cash generated from its business operations,” Patten said in his budget message.    He said he expects the revenue to increase from last year by about 70 percent, which is due in part to new thinking about customers.    “Stated simply, increased sales and great service … has created continued and increased value to the company and its customers,” Patten said.    Also, MINET will offer new services, including smart home systems for its Internet users and upgraded set-top boxes for its cable customers, Patten said.    Budget Committee member Tom Takacs asked Patten for details on how he expects to achieve success. Patten said he would bring more specifics to the next budget meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 29 downstairs at the Independence Civic Center.    Also for the next meeting:    • All 12 committee members will be notified more carefully.    • Actual numbers from last fiscal year will be provided so that budget committee members may compare where MINET was to where it is and where it expects to go.

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