The Monticello city council reviewed a balanced budget at its meeting on Nov. 12. It followed two work sessions, including one prior to last week’s regular council meeting.

City Administrator Terry Summers originally said the General Fund budget was about $3,025 in the red, but after aldermen suggested a pedestrian crosswalk for Route 47 near Lodge Park be delayed for at least a year, the current budget proposal is in the black by about $27,000.

Alderman Wendall Brock felt the crossing would not be needed until there are homes built in Sage Woods on the Kirby Medical Center property. That will likely not occur until next spring.

Construction of a $30,800 crosswalk prematurely could end up being “a road to nowhere for now,” thought Brock.

I’m not opposed to it at all, but would rather hold it for a year,” he added.

Summers said the General Fund currently has approximately $2.9 million in reserves. Other funds also have cash on hand, including $7.14 million in motor fuel tax for road-related work.

Also included in the proposed budget:

$70,000 for an asphalt surface on the newest portion of the Sangamon River bike trail (County Farm Road to Green Apple Lane). There is also $8,000 budgeted for maintenance on the remainder of the trail;

$30,000 to bring a city billing clerk back to full-time;

2.5 percent raises for employees

$90,000 for an extra payroll period in 2020;

$12,000 for completion of the downtown CF&H alley reconstruction;

$20,000 for replacement of about half of the city’s emergency sirens;

Summers also said Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax proceeds have also been bumped up $50,000 to $1.3 million for 2020. CPPRT proceeds have come in higher than expected this year.

A proposed levy of $727,144 was also approved by the council. It represents a 4.9 percent increase over the current year’s extension of $693,179. The ordinance will also be on the council agenda on Nov. 25 for first reading, with final consideration likely on Dec. 9.

The final budget will also be voted on later by the board between now and the end of the year.


Positive comments

Audience member Steve Shreffler complimented the city on its transparency, for allowing public comment prior to the consideration of action items on the agenda, and for the detail included in meeting minutes from City Clerk Jill Potts.

I’m glad to see the City of Monticello is transparent,” said Shreffler.

But he chided the council for considering a 4.9 percent increase in the tax levy while there is money in the bank.

If you don’t need the money, don’t take it from people,” he said.

In other action, the council:

heard that a ribbon cutting for new business Bespoke Gift Company will at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29 at 107 W. Main St. in Monticello;

was told by Police Chief John Carter that the annual Shop With a Cop event will be Dec. 14. Those who wish to volunteer can call Carter at 217-762-7727;

was introduced to the city’s newest police officer, Andrew Livingston; and

heard from Summers that the EPA is no longer requiring the city to set aside $100,000 annually for sanitary sewer studies and work. It had been required as part of consent decree agreed to in 2016.