Friday, March 19, 2010
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City: New budget approved, calling for $2 million-plus increase this year

Heritage Days celebration set for July 4 holidays; and more

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[March 19, 2010]  Prior to the regular committee workshop meeting Tuesday night, the Lincoln City Council briefly reconvened from last week's adjourned voting meeting to conclude leftover business and approve bills wrapping up another fiscal year.

Budget approved

The official budget document for the fiscal year beginning May 1, 2009, and ending April 30, 2010, was presented and approved with a vote of 9-0. Alderman Verl Prather was absent.

The bottom line for the coming year is that the city is going to need $14,984,420 to stay afloat. This is an increase of $2,207,629 over the current year, ending April 30.

In a written statement, Les Plotner, city treasurer, explained that the larger amount needed is due to increases in health insurance premiums for city employees; the cost of salaries due to new contract agreements; an increased cost for the centralized dispatch services; a repayment plan for the City Hall roof loan; increases in liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance, Illinois Municipalities Retirement Fund, Social Security and pension costs; plus an increase in sewer operations and maintenance funds.

Of the $14 million-plus needed, $6,708,600 will come from local revenues such as property tax, municipal sales tax, telecommunications tax and state income tax, just to name a few.

The total general operating fund of $7.7 million will also include homeland security grant funds in the amount of $25,000, stimulus funds of $465,000 and state-paid revenues for the Truck Access Route Program in the amount of $517,260.

The balance of the budget will be expended out of designated funds such as the motor fuel tax fund, forestry fund and capital projects fund, just to name a few. "Designated funds" means that revenues received into these special accounts have to be expended for specific uses. For example, revenues received for the forestry fund can only be used for city forestry projects.

Alderwoman Melody Anderson, chair of the finance committee, expressed her appreciation to all those involved in the budget building process: "I do want to say thank you, as this budget really was a group effort," she said. "It took a number of us to do this." She expressed appreciation to the committee and all the aldermen who attended the special Saturday morning budget meetings, then added: "Susan (Gehlbach, city clerk) and all her staff really stepped up, and without Les Plotner we would have been lost. So I want to thank everyone."

Singleton lift station removed from agenda

Alderwoman Marty Neitzel made a motion that the replacement of Singleton lift station be removed from the agenda.

After the meeting, wastewater treatment manager David Kitzmiller said that the new backup pump has been installed, which will afford the council and new mayor some additional time to make decisions on the proposed Singleton lift station project.

The current proposal is a multiphase switch-and-replace project involving the Singleton, Kmart and Zion lift stations, plus a new construction off Malerich Drive, at a cost of between $350,000 and $400,000.

The voting meeting of the council concluded at 7:15 p.m. and the council went immediately into the committee workshop meeting.

Cub Scout Pack 105 to conduct Scout Sweep June 20

Cub Scout Pack 105 paid a visit to the council with their leader, Chad Bennett. The boys were there to ask the council for permission to do a city cleanup project on June 20.

Bennett explained that the group would begin at Washington-Monroe School around 9 a.m. and work their way to the downtown area, then back to the school, picking up trash lying along the streets and sidewalks.

The Cub Scouts are asking that the city contact waste management and make arrangements for a special dumpster.

Bennett also wanted to acknowledge the local sponsors of the project, saying that Alexander Lumber, Bennett Builders, C & C Fudge, C & S Forestry, Domino's, IGA, Kroger, Lincolnland Communications, Salt Creek Tree Farm, Studio 620 and waste management all support the Scout Sweep project, and it is greatly appreciated.

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Heritage Days planning complete

Heritage Days representative Chuck Conzo appeared before the council, saying that all plans are complete for this year's celebration, which will be the weekend of the Fourth of July.

At next week's meeting he is asking for approval of street closings in the downtown area from 7 a.m. on Friday, July 3, to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 4.

In addition there is a request that McLean, Decatur and South Kickapoo streets around Scully Park be closed on Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. for the Fourth of July children's parade.

Conzo said that while this year's celebration is fewer days than in the past, the activities will be much the same. Friday night will be band night on the square. On the Fourth, there will be the children's parade downtown as well as the Railsplitter Auto Club car show, and fireworks at the park district.

Mayor Davis-Kavelman also commented that this is the "give back" year for the Heritage Days celebration. The committee did not seek sponsorship from local businesses, and there will be no sale of wristbands for alcohol consumption, but she stressed, they will still be diligent in checking IDs.

Emergency siren up and running

Fire Chief Kent Hulett reported that the new emergency siren for the downtown area has been installed at the Logan County Safety Complex. It was tested Tuesday afternoon and is in good working order.

City fire department needs to hire two new employees

Three city firemen will be retiring this year. Alderman Buzz Busby asked that next week's agenda include a vote to hire two new firemen.

Kitzmiller to be reassigned

Wastewater treatment manager David Kitzmiller announced that effective Monday, his position will be filled by Bob Tackett. Kitzmiller is an employee of EMC Environmental Management, contracted to the city. He said that Tackett is coming to Lincoln from Evansville and has several years of experience with EMC.

Kitzmiller will be taking a new position in regional oversight with the company. After the meeting he said that his new regional position will include the city of Lincoln, and he plans to keep in touch with the city in that new role.

Elevator needs a few small improvements

City engineer Mark Mathon told the council that the elevator in City Hall is going to need some upgrades. He said that immediate needs will cost about $200 and include updated labeling and some additional safety guards.

There is also a requirement for an emergency phone that must be installed within the next four years. Mathon said that the phone will cost approximately $1,200 and can hopefully be done within the next two years so that the city will be ahead of compliance.

Also in attendance

In addition to the mayor's family, Cub Scout Pack 105, Chuck Conzo and Bob Tackett, other guests for the evening included Mayor-elect Keith Snyder, Alderman-elect David Wilmert and Heritage Days committee member Dan Wheat.


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