Despite the fact last year's citywide cleanup collected less “junk” than had been anticipated, money will be set aside in the proposed budget for a city-sponsored cleanup in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.
Despite the fact last year’s citywide cleanup collected less “junk” than had been anticipated, money will be set aside in the proposed budget for a city-sponsored cleanup in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.
The budget adjustment took place during a City Council budget workshop Wednesday at Hannibal City Hall.
Councilman Jim Van Hoose started the cleanup discussion by inquiring if there was money for such an event built into the 2017-18 budget. City Manager Jeff LaGarce indicated that typically, as city revenues permit, cleanups occur every other year.
“I hate to see it not be in the budget. I’d like to think about having one in the next couple of years,” said Councilwoman Melissa Cogdal, who indicated she had heard complaints from residents in her Third Ward that they had not been aware of the Oct. 29, 2016, cleanup, the city’s first since 2012.
The city budgeted a little over $70,000 for the 2016 cleanup, but only $38,109 was spent. The fee was based on the tonnage that was dropped off.
When the next cleanup occurs it could take on a different format. In the past, residents have had one location at which to drop off their items. Cogdal proposed setting dumpsters in two or more sites.
Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Knickerbocker warned that if a few dumpsters were provided in the Third Ward they could be quickly overwhelmed by residents with junk from other neighboring wards.
While $48,000 will be added for a cleanup, its format was not finalized Wednesday, according to LaGarce.
“The intent will be to develop the program with multiple drop-off points, but for now the goal was to get this money funded in the next budget,” he said.
The Council did not balk at hiring a third Community Service Officer (CSO), with the intent that they will spend a sizable potion of their time patrolling expansive parks such as Riverview and the Sodalis Nature Preserve.
“They will provide a sense of security in the parks,” said LaGarce of the CSOs.
Reportedly 75 percent of the new CSO’s salary will come from the General Fund. The remainder will be covered by the Parks and Recreation Department.
Included in the budget are some big-ticket items — $3.5 million for the Road Improvement Program, $3.14 million to complete design work and begin construction on the riverfront and $940,000 for the Shinn Lane roundabout.
The proposed budget includes a 3.1 percent raise for city personnel.
“We are becoming financially stronger each day, week, month, quarter and year. This is no accident,” wrote LaGarce in his budget summary. “Our measures have been deliberate, and the results increasingly manifest. Adding fixed or reoccurring costs to the city budget would be the killer.
“We need revenues to be strong. Total general operations costs increase only $93,000 in this budget, and that’s with a 3 percent pay increase. This means departments reduced other operating costs.”
While the proposed budget appears solid, LaGarce sees fiscal clouds building on the horizon.
“I’m concerned about next year,” he said, referring to fiscal year 2018-19. “All other things constant, just a 2 percent pay increase next year, leaving everything else constant, would yield a deficit budget. I will spend the ensuing year finding solutions to this.”
Reach reporter Danny Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org