Waterloo, Columbia OK budgets

The Waterloo City Council honored Allan Mueller for nine years of service on the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals during Monday’s council meeting. Mueller is pictured, second from left, with (from left) alderman Russ Row, Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith and zoning administrator Jim Nagel. “It’s been a pleasure,” Mueller said upon receiving his award. (Corey Saathoff photo)

The Waterloo and Columbia city councils Monday night passed budgets for the 2018-19 fiscal year that begins May 1.

Waterloo passed a $29 million balanced budget, up about $1.26 million from last year’s. 

In the electric fund, the largest portion of the city’s budget at 38 percent, receipts of $12.1 million will exceed expenditures of  $11 million.

The general fund, which encompasses about 30 percent of Waterloo’s budget, expenditures are down about $100,000. Among the expenses budgeted are the addition of three new police vehicles for $126,000; the purchase of a grader for $155,000; improvements to Moore Street for $430,000; asphalt overlays on a number of city streets for $855,000; and installation of a sidewalk from Route 3 to Bulldog Boulevard at the high school for $151,000. 

The city is also carrying the costs of several street department projects that have been completed but not yet billed by the state of Illinois in the amount of $683,500, city budget director Shawn Kennedy explained…>>>

The Columbia City Council passed a $17.5 million budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Following two years of balanced general fund budgets, the city projects a deficit of about $280,000.

“We budget very conservatively on the revenue side and we budget (for the) worst case scenario on the expenses side,” Columbia city administrator Jimmy Morani said. “Although  this year we’re showing a projected deficit of the general fund, it’s very possible we will end up with a surplus again.”

Making up a steady 34 percent of the city’s budget each year, the general fund encompasses a wide range of costs including administrative overhead and salaries, police operations and salaries, and street work not covered by motor fuel tax revenue.

Although there are no big ticket items in this year’s budget comparable to last year’s $800,000 for the new outdoor warning system, there are a number of smaller expenditure increases across the range of funds.

The 2018-19 budget has about $6.1 million in expenditures in the general fund. Included in expenses is the addition of a full-time police officer, which will allow for a dedicated traffic officer for the Route 3 corridor, as well as the addition of a part-time officer who will be assigned to the city’s parks. The department is also retrofitting a police car in its fleet for use by the traffic officer.  

Computer, software and networking upgrades will cost the city an initial outlay of about $30,000, primarily from the general fund.

Road repairs on Bradington Drive are expected to cost about $15,000, while the installation of fences around the rain gardens on Main Street, intended to relieve the increasing problem of littering in them, will cost $15,000. Another $11,600 is budgeted for repairs to the exterior of City Hall at the Cherry Street entrance, where the facade is degraded.

In the ambulance fund, the third largest fund, accounting for 5.55 percent of the budget, the addition of a new ambulance and new radios will cost about $44,000.

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