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Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

2007 budget expenses up by $1.4 million

By Janie Southard
St. MARYS - The initial submission for the 2007 city budget shows a total of $43.3 million, up $1.4 million over the 2006 final budget.
Safety/Service Director Tom Hitchcock reviewed several outstanding items with council's finance committee members at Monday night's committee meeting.
One high ticket item is $850,000 for a new ladder truck for the fire department, replacing the current vehicle, which is on its last rung, according to city officials.
Law Director Kraig Noble observed that the present ladder truck is a 1976 model purchased used from the city of Chicago.
An estimated $900,000 will be portioned off for the 2007 street program.
Applications and grants of revolving loan funds amount to at least $400,000. Committee members including ex officio member Mayor Greg Freewalt commented this is a good investment as the companies applying for revolving loans bring jobs to town.
An allotment of $75,000 is listed for replacing the roof on the covered bridge in Memorial Park and performing some necessary bridge maintenance.
"This is one of those pay now or pay a whole lot later," observed council member Jim Harris.
One smaller yet significant expense is $11,000 allotted for various tests taken by those being promoted in the fire and police departments.
Swimmers will be happy to hear $5,000 is in the 2007 budget for tables, chairs and other equipment at the St. Marys Community Pool. Presently sun worshipers position their own beach towels in the grass or along the concrete apron or drag in their own chairs.
Also under discussion at the finance committee meeting is the outright purchase of a new dump truck for $120,282, an item that will be presented in ordinance form at the next council meeting.
Hitchcock pointed out the present truck requires about $25,000 a year in maintenance and repairs.
"We have $150,000 available in the refuse fund, which would leave $30,000. If we should need more we can always appropriate from another fund," he said.
He explained the new truck is gray and white, but to paint it orange would cost an additional $4,800 and would probably not be the best paint job. Committee members agreed the gray-white color is okay. (Other village trucks are painted orange.)
Another adjustment needed to accommodate the new truck is that some residents will need to bring their refuse to the curb rather than the alley side of their homes. The truck is too large to get down a few alleys around town.
The committee conducted a preliminary discussion of council members' annual salaries and the possibility of increases to blend with other similar pay scales of area councils. The matter was tabled for a later finance committee meeting.
The projected revenue has not been received yet, but is expected by the December meeting. Council is expected to take action on 2007 appropriations at the meeting.
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