New Development and $20 Million Budget Top City Council Agenda
The Hannibal City Council has given first reading to a budget bill totaling $20 million. Discussion of the fiscal 2014-15 budget and one property issue started early Tuesday night. Two hearings held just prior to the regular 7 p.m. meeting.
The first public hearing began with Finance Director Doug Warren outlining the highlights of the new fiscal year budget. Warren says $20 million is the revenue figure for all funds including grant revenue. The General Fund will bring in $10.9 million. Capital Funds came in at $2.6 million, but some of those expenditures will be spread out over several years. Warren cited examples such as replacing the police fleet and purchasing a street sweeper. The police fleet is currently replaced every four years. The price tag for replacement of the entire fleet is $300,000.
The City owns a total of 87 vehicles. Fuel costs for the past year topped $280,000. That subject brought one comment from a citizen: Rev. John Tomko asked if the City has considered alternatives. Tomko asked whether federal funding for conversion or purchasing natural gas vehicles is available. City Manager Jeff LaGarce answered the issue has been examined in the past, and it did not seem feasible then. He said that conversions seem to work best in larger municipalities using certain vehicles such as bus fleets. One of the obstacles is the expense of a natural gas filling station. Tomko suggested the City check into sharing a filling station with Liberty Utilities Gas Co. LaGarce said he was open to exploring alternative fuel options again, as the technology continues to evolve.
The second hearing concerned designating property at 311 North 6th Street as a local historic landmark. No public comments were received. The owners are Clark and Maria Cruikshank. City Engineer Mark Rees says this could help the owners preserve the property and possibly obtain government funding. A bill regarding the designation was given a first reading during the regular council meeting.
Another bill given a first reading would create a new development west of Hannibal. The ordinance would approve the plat of a subdivision known as the Sleep Inn Hotel. The Bross Family Limited Partnership proposes to sell a portion of land located near Fiddlestiks Restaurant and the medical complex. The site would feature a hotel and a lake. City Engineer Mark Rees says the investors are anxious to move forward as soon as the council gives final approval.
Dan Janes of the Loafers Car Club received approval to hold the September car show around Central Park in September. Broadway will be closed from 3rd to 5th Streets to accommodate the vehicles. The show was well attended last year and Janes expects more than 200 classic and special interest cars again this year.
Animal Control Officer Bobby Stout was commended for his prompt response regarding a barking dog warning. City Manager Jeff LaGarce read a letter received from attorney Stephen Porter. Porter said he contacted Stout on behalf of a client who received the warning. Porter said Stout not only replied by phone, but he followed up with Porter in person.
The” dead end stub” on North Street can be used to benefit a Hannibal business. The council voted to allow employees of the Moses Bates Pub on North Main to park in the area near the floodwall. City Manager Jeff LaGarce said the area is not a through street and is rarely used for anything other than floodwall maintenance. LaGarce said this will also free up more parking spaces for tourists on the Pub’s lot. The Moses Bates Pub is located on the former Murphy Motors site at the corner of Main and North Streets.
City Clerk Angel Vance received approval to enter into a two year agreement with AT & T for a Business Local Calling Plan in the amount of $28 per landline. Her memo to the council stated the existing agreement has expired and fees have risen to as high as $72 per line.
Leon Wallace of the Street Department outlined bids for materials purchases including fuel, gravel, salt, asphalt and concrete. Prices for salt have jumped and several suppliers declined to bid for the first time, due to shortages of materials last winter. The lone bidder was North American Salt, with a price of $75.98 a ton, up more than $12 from last year. The council voted to approve the purchases.
Wallace also received approval to purchase a used street sweeper from Elgin. The sweeper will cost $127,000 but is in excellent shape. He said a competitor’s bid of $85,000 was for a unit that was not in nearly as good condition. Wallace told the council the sweeper from Elgin would be more cost effective in the long run.
City Collector Phyllis Nelson outlined budget adjustments to the fiscal 2014 budget for additional revenues and expenditures relative to storm damage and other events. She also requested Council allow her to write off delinquent personal property taxes totaling nearly $26,000 for the 2010 tax year. Nelson said state statutes prohibit taking legal action against delinquent personal taxes more than 3 years old. She said collections should improve in the future, now that Marion County is collecting the tax on behalf of the City. The council voted to approve the requests.