She said that in the first day, there was little need to discuss
what could be allowed or would have to be postponed or denied. She
explained that once the primary information was put together, the
finance committee would work on the budget, and at the next meeting,
on March 26, it would be decided what requests could be granted.
She did, however, encourage fellow aldermen to ask questions,
particularly when they noted a proposed budget figure differing
greatly from the current budget.
Sewage and wastewater treatment
For the current budget year, the line for sewage and wastewater
treatment was 60.02 percent expended on March 12. The budget for the
year was $4,310,501, and recorded expenses have totaled
According to Illinois state law, this program must be
self-sufficient. Revenues and expenditures are considered by the
council and included in the official budget document, but the money
is technically kept separate from all other funds.
Historically, this program is the one that maintains a profitable
status on the city books.
Bob Tackett, sewer and wastewater treatment manager, said the budget
he is presenting to the council for the new fiscal year is
approximately $400,000 less than the current budget.
He explained that last year a large sum of money was invested in
the Singleton lift station switch-out project, which will not be
needed this year.
He did note there is some finishing work to do on the lift
station project, and he will need $25,000 to complete it.
Items he is looking to purchase include a new flusher truck at a
cost of approximately $205,000. The company that sold the city the
last flusher truck guaranteed a $107,000 trade-in, but Tackett said
he would still go out for bid to see if he can get a better deal.
A major project Tackett intends to get done in the coming year is
relining or total replacement of several of the city's old
brick-lined manholes. He said replacing would be the best option and
would cost approximately $13,000 each. The manholes could be relined
and the cost would be only $3,000 each. Tackett is asking for a
total of $58,000 for this project.
Tackett also named several equipment items that needed to be
replaced this year, including a diesel trash pump, a new mower and a
new all-terrain plant vehicle.
A large expense that needs to be taken care of this year is
$80,000 for a replacement of the current non-potable water system.
Thus far the city has been able to do two of the required
combined sewer overflow monitorings as required by the Illinois
Environmental Protection Agency. Tackett said five more rain events
would have to be sampled and tested, and he will need $45,000 to
accomplish those this coming year.
On a bright note, Tackett said he was getting strong indications
that electric power for the plant would be going down in cost. The
city currently is purchasing electricity through Mid-America Energy,
but the contract is up for renewal.
In an update on Tuesday night, Tackett said he was talking with a
variety of suppliers, and at the moment Ameren was coming in with
the lowest contract bid.
During discussion at the Saturday budget meeting, Mayor Keith
Snyder asked about the plant vehicle. Tackett said the city owns a
John Deere Gator. It is used off-road around the waste treatment
plant to pull wagons or carts with equipment and supplies from
location to location. He said the Gator was purchased used from
another waste treatment facility eight years ago and the motor on it
Alderwoman Stacy Bacon asked if the flusher truck and the plant
vehicle could be leased. Tackett said he has done that in the past
and doesn't recommend it, but he would be happy to check into it for
Snyder asked if Tackett had a projection of his revenues for the
coming year. Tackett said he didn't have the information yet but
would work on it.
It was also noted that this year there is a sewer increase of $1
per month on residential services.
Tackett said he adjusted the contract operations and maintenance
line with a 3 percent increase, but Environmental Management Corp.
would adjust it according to the current consumer price index, so it
may come in less. Right now the figure is set at $1,302,950.
The contract provides oversight and maintenance to the treatment
facility by EMC. Tackett is an employee of EMC contracted to the
city, and his wages are paid by EMC out of that contract amount.
The sewer program does, however, assist in the payment of wages
in the city clerk's office. Wages for Doris Anderson, sewer billing
and collections clerk, and 50 percent of the wages of Susan Gehlbach,
assistant city clerk, are paid by the sewer department.
The current year budget for the city clerk's office totals
$189,428 and as of March 12 was 79.10 percent expended.
When this budget year began, there were three full-time office
staffers working at City Hall, plus Denise Martinek, city clerk.
Partway through the year, Brenda McCabe moved to the city police
department, and two part-time employees were added to the staff.
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Going to part-time employees has saved the city some money this
year, but Martinek said that at some point, she would like to go
back to one full-time person.
She said the part-time people came in to perform specific duties,
but their time was not allowing them to actually assist with the
daily running of the office.
Going to a full-time position with wage and fringe is going to
add to the bottom line of the budget, but other than that,
Martinek's budget is going to change very little for next year.
Martinek said the budget had been exceeded in printing and
publishing, dues and publications, and schools and conferences.
The clerk's budget covers city council expenses as well as the
city clerk's office. Anderson said the schools and conferences line
had been exceeded because last year nothing was added to the budget
for the Illinois Municipal League Conference in Chicago, yet there
were aldermen who attended this year.
The amount budgeted for this line had previously been $15,000,
but for this year it was reduced to $4,400, with the actual expense
being $6,880.94. She asked that the figure be placed back at
As noted previously, the clerk's office is also supported by the
city sewer department and has a separate budget for the sewer
Martinek also noted that sometime within the next 12 months, the
city may go to paper statements for the sewer department. She said
postage costs will go up when that happens. Currently the postage
line is at $10,000 but only 72.58 percent expended. Martinek said
she'd like to leave it at $10,000.
She also requested that the $5,000 budgeted this year for capital
expenses remain the same for the coming year. She said if the city
does get to a paper statement on sewer bills, she'd like to purchase
a folding machine at a cost of approximately $2,000.
The current budget for the mayor's office is $30,550 and is 76.76
Snyder said much of his budget was not going to change. He is
asking that his line for dues be increased from $400 to $775. He
said he wanted the city to join the National Council of Shopping
Centers as well as the American Planning Association.
The current budget amount for telephone, Internet and fax is set
at $3,200. Snyder said the actual expense will run around $2,600
this year, so he'd like to drop his budget to that amount for the
He said the city is looking at doing some consolidation on cell
phones for non-police personnel. If the city goes forward with this,
the actual costs expended in that line may be less.
Snyder did have one budget-buster this year, the public relations
line. He offered an accounting of the line, saying he would use the
money for advertising with the football and basketball programs at
the high school. He also paid for plaques and refreshments for the
numerous departures from city government this year and that line
covered grant-writing expenses for this year.
The current budget allows for $2,000 in that expense line, and
Snyder asked that it be increased to $2,500.
Mayor throws out some thoughts
Snyder said that in addition to his budget, he wanted to throw a
couple of things out there for the council to consider, if extra
money could be found.
He noted the city police department has some serious space issues
in their current location at the Logan County Safety Complex. He
also noted it has been well established that there is a need to do
something about the current fire department situation.
"Right now I have an architect doing some preliminary work, a
base line assessment. But I think we should build in some dollars
for some professional architectural fees," he said.
He also talked again this year about his hope of having a
citywide cleanup. He said he'd like to see $20,000 that could be
used for the fast-track demolition and a citywide cleanup. He said
the city developed the demolition program in the last year but ran
out of money to do anything with it, and it is needed. He also noted
it would probably take at least $8,000 to do a citywide cleanup.
Accomplishing any of the items on the Snyder's "wish list" is
something the city may be hard-pressed to do yet this year, but the
council in general agreed that all were needed.
[By NILA SMITH]
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