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City council reviews budget-balancing options

ST. CHARLES — There seems to be a discrepancy between the money the city of St. Charles thought it would earn in 2012 and the funds that are being collected.

City accountant Kristine Huinker told the city council at Tuesday night’s meeting that water and sewer revenue was overstated in initial budget projections. Water revenue was budgeted $65,000 too high while sewer income was estimated $75,000 over expected receipts.

"We need to make some adjustments," said City Administrator Nick Koverman.

Huinker suggested the city adjust sewer revenue down over a two-year span while cutting expenses by $15,000. Water revenue, she said, could be absorbed in one year because the city had planned to take in more than it spent.

There also will be a shortfall of about $1,000 in pool revenues. That shortfall could be absorbed through controlling spending, Huinker said.

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The council took no action on the recommendations Tuesday night, though Mayor William Spitzer asked Koverman to come back with a course of action that would take care of the shortfall in all three areas in a single year.

One way to save in sewer expenses would have been to hold off on the Summer I&I Project, a planned repair of sewer lines along Richland Avenue from Sixth Street to First Street. The council, however, approved the $67,000 project. Koverman said the project will re-line the sewer pipes without needing to tear up streets.

The council also agreed to spend $26,000 on the Summer Seal Coating Projects. The job was given to Caldwell Asphalt and will cover sections of five different streets in town.

An EDA loan to S&S Dairy for $20,000 will be paid off and then loaned again to the company under an agreement approved by the council. The company took out the loan to purchase a truck for its growing needs, but now wants to buy the building it has been leasing. After paying off the loan for the truck, the EDA will loan S&S Dairy the $20,000 again so it can use the money as a down payment for its building.

"It’s the kind of success we like to see," Koverman said.

The final plat for the Chattanooga Innovation Park, commonly referred to as the I-90 business park, was approved as well.

The council also agreed to begin the process of changing one of St. Charles’ noise ordinances. The law states that domestic power equipment — lawnmowers, weed eaters and the like — can be used from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The proposed change would make weekend and holiday hours the same as weekday hours.

The request for the change was made by Maurice and Judy Ploetz. Maurice Ploetz, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, said that he and others don't have 9-to-5 jobs and that the restricted weekend hours can make it difficult to get yard work done.

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The ordinance will be amended and voted on during an upcoming city council meeting.

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