The City of Vandalia’s Board of Alderman unanimously adopted its budget for the Fiscal Year 2016-17 in last week’s meeting but not before some concerns were discussed. Alderman Bob Dunn said he felt the board needed at least 15 to 30 days to review the budget due to a large amount of dollar totals.
He then pointed out to the council that the largest line item in the budget is for police at $385,549.
While noting that he has no problem with the police department, he was questioning the need for the amount of money spent in the department given the total population of Vandalia minus the prison numbers.
His figures show about $734 per household being spent for police.
“Now I don’t know where this budget got so big; I can remember the days of when we had more people living here then we do now and we had two people (police),” Dunn said.
Alderman Larry Holt said in looking at the police budget, “there is a lot more activity then there was 20 years ago.”
“I agree with that but again we are limited at the City of Vandalia with what our income is,” Dunn said.
Dunn followed by asking why there were two police cars riding around on Wednesday night?
Holt said you “need to have a backup who can show up pretty quick.”
“Times have changed so much…” he added.
Dunn said there is one highway patrolman that covers the county and noted that the trooper doesn’t have two guys running with him.
It was noted that the highway patrol receives backup with the county.
“It’s going to take too long for them to get here,” Holt said in regards to response coming from outside departments.
Alderman Gabe Jennings said he understands where folks are coming from on both sides of the discussion but added his opinion on crime in Vandalia.
“The crime rate has moved up in this town,” Jennings said. “And until we get it down, I say we need all the help they can get for now because I think it’s going to get worse.”
Dunn also said he was concerned that there were no street programs.
Overall, the budget shows no rate changes anticipated. There are $318,663 in capital expenditures and $1,877,911 with the capital improvement fund.
There is a notable increase in the Electric Fund from $24,683 to $526,848. The General Fund went up from $73,879 to $262,650.
Among some notable changes are an increase in personnel costs due to the Lagers change from employee contributory status to non-contributory status. Overall, staff notes the budget to be balanced and that revenues were flat at $4,556,548.
After the discussion, aldermen adopted passed the bill that became Ordinance #16-1158 for the budget.
Read the rest of the story in the February 17 issue of The Vandalia Leader or purchase an electronic edition at https://www.vandalialeader.com/subscribe/