Jax appropriations budget passes, but not unanimously

By Gary Scott on February 9, 2016 at 9:17am

Boy Scouts and the city officials they’re representing: Austin Crowder (Mayor Andy Ezard), Jayden Ware (City Attorney Dan Beard), Jacob Estabrook (City Clerk Skip Bradshaw), Seth Homan (City Treasurer Ron Smiljanich). Aldermen: John Killam (Jeff Hopkins), Devin Grable (Tony Williams), Matthew Crowder (Lori Oldenettel), James Shumaker (Marcy Patterson), Luke Grable (Travis Richardson), William Pierce (Mike Wankel), Nathan Garnett (Ben Tomhave), Jacob Wilson (Don Cook), Haydn Leonard (Steve Warmowski).

During last night’s City Council meeting, which followed the dog park presentation, aldermen passed the first reading of the 2016 Appropriations Budget.

The vote was 8-2, with Lori Large-Oldenettel and Marcy Patterson voting against it. Oldenettel went on the record during the meeting to say she wanted the budget to pass, and felt confident there were votes for that to happen, but…

“There were several line items that I was concerned about during the Finance Committee meetings. Specifically, we have central office supplies that consistently, over the last four years, we’ve spent more than $5,000 to $6,000, but yet, for this budget, we have zero dollars allocated for that,” she says.

“Another example, the police department, for retirement vacation time, we’ve consistently over four years, spent far more than the $20,000 that’s allocated again this year for the budget, and I just feel like when we can look at a budget over the last four years, we can get a lot closer guesstimate of what we feel like that budgetary line item should be,” adds Oldenettel.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard expressed hope that any problems with the budget would be resolved by the second reading at the next City Council meeting.

The appropriations budget totaled $55-million. Finance Committee Chair Don Cook said it included money for a new comprehensive study, a foot bridge near Lake Jacksonville, and a study to improve the brick portion of Douglas Street.

Also last night, City Council approved the first reading granting a liquor license to Jacksonville Main Street for alcohol sales at the Levitt AMP Concert Series and the Downtown Celebration.

Aldermen were told about changes coming to the intersections with Church Street and College Avenue, along with Church and State. They also approved some preliminary items to get the ball rolling on improvements to North Main Street to be made this year.

We’ll follow up on that story coming up this afternoon.

Last night was Boy Scout Citizenship Night. Aldermen and city officials were “represented” by Scout Troops 115, 113, 107 and 103.