A big hit for the city?

A proposal by new Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner could have officials in Vandalia really sharpening their pencils as they draw up a new budget.
Rauner recently announced that he would like to, as part of dealing with the state’s financial woes, cut in half the amount of income tax that the state gives to municipalities.
On Monday night, Mayor Rick Gottman said that if Rauner’s proposal becomes reality, that would reduce the amount of the city’s income taxes from the state from $695,964 to $347,922 this year.
“That would be a big hit to our budget … huge,” Gottman told city aldermen.
“It’s something that we’ve got to keep a close eye on,” he said.
“As the governor said, everyone’s going to suffer” as Illinois officials attempt to deal with the state’s financial problems.
“It’s important that we look at the dollars that aren’t going to be coming in,” Gottman said.
City Clerk Peggy Bowen said that the state’s income tax dollars go into the city’s general fund, and Gottman said that that means that the city will have to determine what areas of city spending would be looked at in terms of any cuts.
Executive Secretary LaTisha Paslay checked with other area communities to see how much they stand to lose if Rauner’s proposal goes through.
Brownstown would lose $37,506, St. Elmo would see a $70,466 reduction and Ramsey’s income tax amount would be reduced by $51,244.
Paslay’s research shows that Fayette County’s income tax share would be reduced from $1,078,833 to $539,417.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Gottman reported that the city has now received 14 applications for the position of city administrator.
Applications are being accepted through the last full week of March.
In other action on Monday:
• The council approved the hirings of Andy Gelsinger and Steve Adams for the city’s water treatment plant.
Gelsinger and Adams are replacing retiring employees Randy Bone and Dave Goodin.
• The council approved the annexation of property owned by Public Works Director Marlin Filer on Carlyle Road.
• The council OK’d a resolution that allows city residents to receive electricity through Good Energy for a second straight year.
In the first year, the savings for local residents totaled about $50,000, Gottman said.
• The council approved bids of $2,629 and $1,140 from STL Countertop Solutions in St. Louis, Mo., for two countertops for the Vandalia Volunteer Fire Department quarters.
The countertops are being paid for with money given to the department from the Hazel Simma Kelly Fund.
• The council gave Gottman the authority to sign all documents related to the purchase of land on Jackson Street for the future expansion of the city’s water treatment plant. The property is adjacent to the current plant.
The closing on the property was to be held Tuesday afternoon.
• Gottman announced that the city has sent out to four firms requests for proposals on redoing the city’s website.

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