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New city budget will have 3 deficit funds

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The Vandalia City Council will be voting next Monday on a budget that includes deficits in three areas and an overall deficit of close to $200,000.
During a work session held on Monday afternoon, Mayor Rick Gottman told aldermen that the proposed budget has deficits in the water and sewer, capital improvement and payroll funds.
The water and sewer fund deficit of $98,281, can be largely attributed to the increased cost of supplies and the replacement of water department pumps that are 30 and 40 years old.
The replacement of those pumps “has been put off for two or three years,” Gottman said.
The mayor and Executive Secretary LaTisha Paslay, who assisted the mayor with the budget preparation, said the capital improvement fund deficit, $156,850, is also due to several projects that have been put off in recent years.
The largest of those is the replacement of the two bridges at Randolph and Fifth streets. The city’s share of the $720,850 project is $295,300.
Gottman said that the city can handle budget deficits with reserve funds, but added, “We are going to be running low.”
The proposed budget, he said, does not include a payment of more than $1 million to the Illinois Department of Transportation for the Gallatin Street streetscape project.
He said project funds were zeroed out seven years ago, but because the city knew that it still owed IDOT money for the project, began building up funds for that purpose at that time.
If that payment had to be made within this year’s budget, Gottman said, the city would have a $1.228-million deficit.
The mayor also said that Thrill Hill bridge project is also not included in the budget, because the city does not yet know how much the project will cost.
The city received drawings for the bridge project from IDOT on Monday, and forwarded them onto Hurst-Roche Engineers, which will generate cost estimates.
The city will hold a budget hearing at 5:30 p.m. next Monday, then vote on an appropriations ordinance for fiscal year 2014-15 during a special meeting at 6 p.m.