The voted 6-3 to approve the city’s $75.9 million 2012 budget at Thursday’s meeting.
Voting to approve the budget were Bill Gardner, Ward 1, Rose Mack, Ward 2, John Haman Jr., Ward 3, Bob Howell, Ward 4 and Ward 5 Councilmen Mike Pheney and Mark Perkins. Councilmen Jim Pepper, Ward 2, Richard Battelle, Ward 3 and Jeff Schwentker, Ward 4 voted against the budget. Councilman Rick Lucas, Ward 1, was absent.
As O'Fallon Patch , the approved 2012 budget:
- Ends a hiring freeze that was in effect for the past two years for the city. Director of Finance Vicki Boschert said the city is not automatically filling positions if an employee leaves, but evaluating the need to hire a new employee.
- Includes no cost of living increases for city employees employees, but employees who have not reached the top of their pay scale, will be eligible to receive merit increases in 2012.
- Includes funds for hiring three new officers, which would bring the police department to 112 employees
- Other priorities are funding for improving city streets and $383,000 budgeted for a skate park and parking lot at Westhoff Park.
The 2012 budget projects that the city will bring in revenue of $72.2 million, which Director of Finance Vicki Boschert said is up slightly from the $70.3 million anticipated in the 2011 budget.
Boschert projects $28.4 million in general revenue next year. General revenue pays for public safety expenses, city hall operations and other operating expenses. She added O’Fallon has seen an increase in sales tax revenue, which is the city’s largest source of revenue.
During the budget process, the City Council recommended $54,500 be allocated to start development on the Krekel House.
The Krekel House, which is the oldest standing structure in O’Fallon, was purchased by the city five years ago.
Director of Public Relations Tom Drabelle said plans for the house included turning it into a historical museum, but due to budget restraints the past few years, the city was not able to take action.
At Thursday’s meeting, Ward 2 Councilwoman Rose Mack made a motion to transfer the money in Capital Expenditures allocated for the Krekel House project to the Community Landscape Improvement Fund (CLIF).
She said she would like to put the renovation on hold until council members had more time to discuss what the project would entail.
Ward 2 Councilman Jim Pepper seconded the motion. The council voted 5-4 to move the $54,500 into the CLIF, which will fund a long-term community-wide landscape and beatification project.
Reporter Brian Flinchpaugh contributed to this story.