Moline aldermen were presented with a balanced 2013 budget proposal Tuesday that includes just one fee increase and no layoffs.
"Unlike the past five years, the 2013 budget began with a deficit of less than $1 million, the first time since 2007," city administrator Lew Steinbrecher wrote in his budget message to aldermen. To a great extent, the "significantly smaller deficit" can be attributed directly to three city unions and non-union employees who agreed to no general wage increase this year, he said.
The recommended $130.7 million budget -- $9.1 million more than the 2012 budget -- maintains the same property tax levy, $14.6 million, as this year. Mr. Steinbrecher wrote a decrease in the overall equalized assessed value in Moline and South Moline townships probably will have a slight impact on the property tax rate, "but the levy itself does not need to increase."
Mr. Steinbrecher recommends a $1.05 increase to the current $7.56 per month sanitation fee, attributing the hike to increased pension and retirement costs. "In 2013, for the first time ever, there will not be enough property tax revenues available to financially support garbage collection services," he wrote.
He recommends the general fund subsidize the sanitation fund with $685,505, using the fee increase to fill the remaining $187,495 deficit.
His report also includes:
-- Using $48,830 from the general fund to help pay Social Security taxes, because "...retirement and pension obligations have consumed do much of the property tax levy that, for the first time ever, property taxes can no longer fund the full payment of Social Security taxes, as it has always done in the past."
-- Using reserves to maintain budgets at the current levels for the library and the parks departments.
-- Retaining the position of Public Safety Director instead of filling the fire chief's position.
-- Anticipating $135,000 in new revenues from the Video Gaming tax.
Aldermen have a budget workshop planned Oct. 16 during the committee-of-the-whole meeting. The city has to pass a budget by the end of the year.
Also on Tuesday, Mayor Don Welvaert announced he will appoint David Parker Jr. as 2nd Ward aldermen next week. Pending council approval, Mr. Parker will fill the remainder of the term left vacant when Richard Meredith resigned because he was moving out of the ward.
Mr. Parker, a Realtor with Century 21 Cornelis-Simpson Inc., said Mayor Welvaert called him over the weekend to measure his interest. "I think it is a great opportunity to give back to the community and help the citizens of Moline. Now I just want to get involved and learn as much as I can about the position," he said.
Mayor Welvaert said he spoke to 14 people about the vacancy before choosing Mr. Parker.
There are seven months left in the term Mr. Parker will fill; no one has taken out candidacy papers for the ward. Mr. Parker said he is not ruling out seeking a full four-year term but said he also is not taking out candidacy papers right now. "I want to find out where I can fit in best and help out the most," he said.
Mr. Parker has lived in Moline for about six years. He is married to Vickie and their son, Andrew, is a freshman at Moline High School.
Also on Tuesday, Diann Moore, president of the Moline Preservation Society, asked aldermen to give the organization time to raise $155,000 needed to relocate the 112-year-old Davenport, Rock Island and Northwestern depot at 2012 River Drive and save it from demolition.
Aldermen could vote next week to sell the depot to the Illinois Department of Transportation for $141,000. IDOT was willing to pay up to $1 million to buy the land and move the depot to the Western Illinois University Quad City Riverfront campus, but wanted Moline to cover some depot-related costs. Last week a majority of aldermen did not support moving the building.
The preservation society wants to raise money to cover the city's costs. It has raised $22,000 in less than a week and Ms. Moore asked aldermen to pull the sale from next week's agenda next week or give the organization an extension.
Sitting as the committee-of-the-whole, aldermen accepted a $599,700 bid to rehabilitate an elevated water storage tank at 1531 17th Ave. Greg Swanson, utilities general manager, the 750,000-gallon tank was built in 1982 and its rehabilitation will ensure its continued safe and reliable operation. If the city council approves the contract with George Kountoupes Painting Company, the work would include interior and exterior cleaning and repainting, various repairs, safety upgrades and installation of a submersible mixer. Work would begin on April 1, 2013.
Today is Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.