By Woodrow Polston
The Vandalia Board of Aldermen called a special meeting to approve the 2022-23 fiscal year budget for the city. The budget, which is typically approved during a regular board of aldermen meeting, had been delayed because of illness. City Administrator Darren Berry began the meeting reviewing the information that had been provided to the board of aldermen.
“I would like to go through the budget to discuss some of the highlights,” said Berry. “There are no changes in the proposed tax levy this year. Changes to the water and sewer charges will be based on the consumer price index. We have had to increase some swimming pool fees this year due to the minimum wage increase in Missouri. So, we are recommending that the season pass increase $10, making it $60 for an individual and increase $30 making it $180 for a family pass. Transfers to the general fund from water and sewer this year were increased, and sales revenue was slightly higher,” added Berry.
The American Rescue Plan Act funding was also discussed. There is a total of $813,196 that has been added to the capital improvements fund from ARPA. Among some of the planned improvements, Berry discussed necessary updates and changes that are in store for the municipal court.
“For the municipal court, a court chamber platform is needed according to the Office of State Court Administrator,” said Berry. “The judge needs to be elevated on a platform, and it is actually a requirement. For that improvement, we have allocated $1,400 for the material and building expenses. Other improvements include the training center at the fire department. A few years ago, we allocated $40,000 for them to expand their facility at the fire house. They are eagerly planning to begin this project, so we have added an additional $30,000 for this improvement. We have allocated $7,000 for the street department, for equipment including a new snowplow blade that will be $4,000. In the parks department, we have a bathroom remodel for $8,000, and we are looking at a new play set for about $30,000. We are hoping to get a matching grant for this, as these sets are not cheap,” added Berry.
Other items that are going to pull from the Capitol improvements fund include the church building at Railroad Park, which needs maintenance work in the amount of $2,000. The city is also going to purchase a new zero-turn mower, which is estimated to cost an estimated $17,000. There will also be numerous improvements to the city pool, including new paint and lounge chairs. Berry also discussed plans for street improvements for 2022.
“For special projects on our streets we are planning on doing 54 blocks this year at around $45,000,” said Berry. “We are likely doing the chip seal on the streets. Also, as you all know, the city owns the YMCA lot. Back in 2015, we made a commitment to them to tear down the old library, which we did, and to install sidewalks and a paved parking, and provide general grounds maintenance including snow removal. In 2018, I brought this back before the board, and we updated this commitment. It was at that time that we installed the sidewalks. In so doing, we changed the footprint of the parking lot, added gravel and planned to do a chip seal. The reason why we have not done this yet, is because there is concern about the chip seal treatment oil being tracked into the YMCA. Other options are out there including concrete, which would be expensive. In the next few years, there will be several streets that we asphalt, and we may also asphalt this parking lot at that time. We are not sure right now which one we will go with, but we have earmarked $60,000 for the project. I do not anticipate that we will spend that much money though,” he added. The meeting adjourned without further discussion at 6:09 p.m.