O’FALLON – The City Council unanimously approved a $67.7 million budget for 2016-17 at Monday evening’s meeting.
The budget shows a decrease in spending of 11 percent compared to last year’s budget, mostly due to the reduced spending in the TIF fund, specifically $10 million that had been allocated for the St. Elizabeth’s Hospital mine remediation.
Alderman Mike Bennett, who chairs the city’s Finance and Administration committee, said the budget creation process went very well this year.
“It went really pretty smoothly. It probably went as smoothly or more than ever. We had question and answer periods at every committee meeting. Then we had meetings directed at the budget, overall. At the last Finance and Administration meeting I went back over all of the questions to make sure answers had been provided,” Bennett said.
Bennett went on to say that while the budget is constructed fairly similarly to last year’s, it does include funds to begin work on stormwater issues in the Presidential Streets.
“Probably the most noteworthy is the work to be done on the Presidential Streets. That’s going to eat up a lot of the Prop-S budget, and that’s been discussed, and the council has decided to move forward. I think its good to start attacking some of the bigger, older, worse problems,” said Bennett.
Bennett did say its important to keep in mind that the budget impacts all of the financial decisions made in the city and that approving the budget now dictates how much the city has to levy in taxes later.
“Every year there’s always a cry to make taxes lower, and that’s a noble and good thing to do, but you have to do it now, with the budget. Because next year when we do the tax levy, the levy supports this budget. The levy we vote on isn’t to support next year’s budget, it’s to support the budget you’re currently under. So by approving this budget, next fall we have to levy enough to cover what we’re under,” he said.
In other news…
ω Mayor Gary Graham issued a proclamation declaring April 18, 2016, as 80 percent by 2018 Day to raise awareness of colon cancer. Brett Schuette with the American Cancer Society was on hand to accept a copy of the proclamation.
“Right now the screening rate nationwide is around 60 to 65 percent. If we can get it to 80 percent by 2018, it could save 277,000 lives a year. Getting a colonoscopy isn’t fun, but colon cancer is a very preventable disease,” Schuette said.
Mayor Graham also issued a proclamation recognizing April 30, 2016 as Arbor Day.
ω During the City Clerk’s report, the following requests were granted…
A request from St. Clair County Republican Women to conduct a raffle for Cardinal baseball tickets and other items on April 28, 2016 at the KC Hall at 5420 Old Collinsville Road
A request from St. Clair Associated Vocational Enterprises, Inc. to conduct a raffle on April 23, 2016 at the KC Hall at 5420 Old Collinsville Road
A request from Willard C. Scrivner Public Health Foundation to conduct a raffle for a quilt from approval through May 7, 2016 at the KC Hall at 5420 Old Collinsville Road