Thursday, April 28, 2011
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New budget is passed, Eaton gifts a generator, city will not sell land

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[April 28, 2011]  Tuesday evening prior to the committee-of-the-whole meeting of the Lincoln City Council, there was a re-adjournment of last Monday night's voting meeting.

The purpose of the voting session was to approve payment of end-of-year bills and to pass a working budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Eight council members were present for the voting session and workshop meeting. Alderwoman Marty Neitzel and Alderman David Wilmert were absent for the evening.

Budget tops $12 million

In the first few minutes of the evening, aldermen received official copies of the working budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The new budget totals $12,721,241, with less than half, $5,865,334, falling under the umbrella of the city's general funds accounts.

In the general fund, $56,180 is budgeted for a city administrator. The breakdown of the budget in that category includes the administrator's salary; a part-time secretary or assistant; health, dental and life insurance; supplies and postage; office equipment and telephone expenses; and an allowance for schools and conferences.

With this amount in the budget, the city can move forward with plans to hire an administrator to begin work in the last six months of the year, probably sometime around November.

Other dollars in the general fund are $95,192 for the zoning office, $1,457,300 for the fire department, $1,981,554 for police and $1,323,482 for the city streets and alleys department.

Beyond the general fund, there is also $617,900 in motor fuel tax to be used for road projects, and $3,046,627 in sewer operations and maintenance. Sewer funds are not included in general funds because by law the sewage department has to be self-sustaining.

Attached to the budget document was a projection of revenues for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which came in with a total of $11,351,564. This equates to a total shortfall of $1,369,677. Of the shortfall, $425,634 is in the general fund and $190,439 is in sewer operations and maintenance.

During the budget meetings in March, it was mentioned that the city has approximately $3 million in carryover, which will cover the shortfalls of the new budget.

After the budget was passed by unanimous vote, Mayor Keith Snyder said that he and the council as well as the city treasurer, Chuck Conzo, wanted to express to Alderwoman Melody Anderson their sincere appreciation for the hours of work she has put into this budget. On behalf of everyone he presented Anderson with a basket full of potted plants, arranged in a lovely bouquet.

Eaton donates generator to city

When harsh weather comes this way this spring, the members of the Lincoln Fire Department will rest a little easier knowing that if the power goes out, there is a backup generator that will keep overhead doors, radios and much more up and running for the emergency service provider.

Eaton Corp. in Lincoln has generously donated the generator to the city, and Chief Mark Miller said he believed it would be installed this week.

Snyder commented that the city is very appreciative of the donation from Eaton.

Exhaust system installed

Miller also shared that the new exhaust system for the firehouse is being installed this week. The exhaust system is part of meeting Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements for safe ventilation of fumes and exhaust from vehicles.

Miller added that the system is being paid for with grant funds and came in under budget. He will now have an additional $5,522 that can be spent on another safety project.

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City will not sell property on South Kickapoo

The city of Lincoln owns a small piece of property on South Kickapoo, across the street from the waste treatment plant. Several months ago Mannie Gaston approached the city, wishing to buy the property.

The land in question adjoins a piece of property owned by Gaston where he has built a building for his business.

Tuesday night waste treatment manager Bob Tackett said he would suggest that the city not sell the property.

In the corner of the property is a city-owned rubicon, which is a concrete waterway. Tackett said the rubicon was built in the mid 1930s.

Tackett said that because the city is in the midst of combined sewer overflow monitoring as required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and it is unknown what the outcome of that monitoring will be, there could be a possibility that the city will have to do some work in and around that rubicon.

Even if the city were to retain the rubicon and a 20-foot border around it, it might not be sufficient. He also noted that taking the 20-foot border wouldn't leave a whole lot of land to sell.

Alderwoman Joni Tibbs, who chairs the building and grounds committee, said she'd like to honor Tackett's suggestion and not allow the sale of the property.

Snyder asked if anyone objected, and there was no comment.

City attorney Bill Bates did share that in his conversations, Gaston had expressed that there might be a fence put up on the property. Bates also said, "I got the impression there is an intention to use that land whether we sell it or not."

Bates said he felt it might be in the city's best interest to know exactly where the property lines are.

City engineer Mark Mathon said he had quotes on having a survey done, one at about $1,200 and a second in a range of $1,200 to $1,500.

Alderwoman Stacy Bacon said she felt it would probably be money well spent.

While an expenditure of that size does not require council approval, Tibbs said she wanted to have it on the agenda anyway, making it part of the permanent record for the city.

Other notes

At the end of the evening, Snyder reminded everyone that at the next voting session, on Monday, seven aldermen will be sworn in for new terms of service to the city.

Those to be sworn in will be Melody Anderson, Kathy Horn and Joni Tibbs for a four-year term; Stacy Bacon for a two-year term; Buzz Busby and Jeff Hoinacki for a four-year term; and Tom O'Donohue for a two-year term.

Snyder said they were all encouraged to bring guests to the swearing-in service, including someone to hold the Bible for them during the ceremony.


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