Quincy City Council poised to approve annual spending plan

Posted: Apr. 27, 2013 5:19 pm Updated: May. 12, 2013 12:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Quincy aldermen are expected to approve the city's annual general fund budget Monday night, although it remains unknown how staffing changes will impact the spending plan.

The proposed $31.7 million budget for the fiscal year beginning May 1 is 3 percent higher than this year, largely because of contractual pay increases and rising insurance and liability costs. It includes $3.29 million in capital spending, with $1.09 million of that being carried over from projects not completed this year.

The spending plan also calls for the continued gradual reduction in payments for some nonprofit organizations, a plan introduced a year ago that called for payments to be completely phased out over five years.

However, it does not include lump-sum payments for unused vacation and sick time for two department heads who have been told they will be let go when Mayor-elect Kyle Moore takes office May 6.

Comptroller Ann Scott will receive $17,500 and City Engineer Jeff Steinkamp $16,900 when their employment ends. They were told last week they will not be part of Moore's administration.

Corporation Counsel Andrew Staff and Assistant Corporation Counsel Chris Scholz also will not be retained, but the city legal staff does not accrue vacation or sick time.

Moore said he will propose an amendment to the budget that will direct money to pay for the buybacks, but he did not say where that money will come from.

"There is room in one department's budget to pay for those," he said.

Money is budgeted for the retirements of Director of Administrative Services Gary Sparks and Jona Holtschlag, administrative assistant to the mayor. Sparks will receive $3,800 and Holtschlag $12,598.

Funding has been provided to the Friends of the Castle, YMCA Teens, the Quincy Society of Fine Arts, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Quincy-Adams County Volunteer Corps, Redmon and Lee Association, and the Alliance to Building Community since the federal government ended its revenue-sharing program in the 1980s.

The proposed budget has $67,506 earmarked for the organizations.

Alderman Paul Havermale, R-3, said the council should continue reducing those subsidies.

"I've talked to individual aldermen and they felt that was a good thing to start last year, so I think it is incumbent on us to continue that," he said.

Alderman Steve Duesterhaus, D-2, chairman of the Finance Committee, agrees.

"I am in favor of a gradual phaseout, so it gives organizations time to adjust to that," he said.

The budget restores funding to the Great River Economic Development Foundationn. GREDF will receive $67,500, compared with $49,900 this year.

"It seems (GREDF has) made some positive steps, and they are communicating very well with the city," Havermale said. "If things keep improving, I'd be in favor of putting some of that funding back."

The budget also proposes providing Woodland Cemetery with $174,000 for operations and another $15,000 to the Historic Quincy Business District.

Alderman Dan Brink, R-6, is skeptical of the spending plan.

"We're projecting neutral revenue, and we're having an increase in the budget," he said. "I don't know how you have a neutral revenue source and have a spending increase."

The city is projecting $30.19 million in general revenue in the next fiscal year, down from $30.59 million this year.

"This document is a planning document, but every proposal is going to have a fresh look when I take the oath of office," Moore said. "Just because it's in this budget document, doesn't mean we're going to spend the money on that project."