City council approved cleanup bid just one month ago

A planned citywide cleanup in Hannibal this fall has been eliminated in a cost-saving step.

"We just voted on it four weeks ago and posted it in the media. It's rough," Councilwoman Melissa Cogdal said during Wednesday evening’s budget workshop at Hannibal City Hall. "We have a flood going on and there is going to be a lot of cleanup needed around the community. Would I love to see it? Absolutely."

Councilman Alan Bowen asked if the council would "catch fire" for not doing the cleanup after it was publicized that the city would offer such a service for the first time in two years. "Probably," Mayor James Hark said.

Hark added the city's primary duty is to provide police, fire, infrastructure and "essential functions" to the public.

"If there is anything (revenue) left we can do the special projects," he said. "It's my feeling that while a citywide cleanup would be nice, it is not a core function of the government to provide."

During its May 7 meeting the Hannibal City Council approved a bid from Republic Services of Quincy, Ill., of $330 per ton with a minimum of $44,550.

"The money has to come from somewhere," Hark said. "We have cut other programs and there may be more in the future that are cut because until revenues exceed your expenses you cannot take on more."

Hark left the door open to the possibility of still being able to provide a cleanup service in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“Something could happen where we could say, ‘We can afford to have a cleanup,’” he said.

City officials are looking at various planned capital projects that could either be eliminated or delayed, and at ways to reduce the city's operating expenses. The city's Director of Finance Karen Burditt reported a few weeks ago the city faced a $1.5 million deficit in its 2019-20 budget based on anticipated revenues and expenditures during a preliminary phase of the budget process.

A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled 6:45 p.m., June 18, in council chambers at city hall. The budget will have a first reading later that night. Approval of the budget would occur at the council's July 2 meeting.

danny.henley@courierpost.com