By Eric X. Viccaro
Ste. Genevieve Herald
Ste. Genevieve aldermen listened on Thursday as department heads made their wish lists known for the 2021 Fiscal Year budget.
“I am not as pleased with the budget as I would like,” Ste. Genevieve city administrator Happy Welch acknowledged during his closing remarks. “Sue (Schweiss) and I are working on the numbers.
“This budget is a reflection of what we can do, and what we want to get done,” Welch said. “We need to do things wisely.”
It’s not easy to generate money in a small community like Ste. Genevieve, with roughly a population of 4,500.
Ward 2 Alderman Bob Donovan, who ran the meeting in place of Mayor Paul Hassler, also chimed in.
“This is the fourth budget process I have been a part of,” Donovan said. “There is more information and I appreciate the timing. But, we have more budget talks further ahead.”
Donovan wondered if the city’s budget is “cautious enough,” especially in light of people’s shopping habits during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
There will be another work session regarding the budget following the regularly scheduled board of aldermen meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday in Ste. Genevieve City Hall.
The work session also will contain talks on the city’s open burning ordinance as well as a proposed technology policy.
During a telephone interview with the Herald on Friday afternoon, Welch explained he made four changes from the first to the second budget proposal.
Welch said more money was added into the general fund revenue ($2,039,927) based on a higher base in local use taxes and more property tax collections. The previous projection was slightly under $2 million.
Under capital projects, $51,000 was added – which represents a small portion of the forthcoming remodeling project for the Ste. Genevieve Police Department.
In the enterprise/dedicated funds area, $325,000 was added under capital projects with the sale of an industrial park building to PIVA, a manufacturer of insulation panels, doors and windows who had previously leased it from the city.
A flexible amount was added to street improvements, ranging from $175,000 to $245,947.00 – depending on the size of the overlay used and the scope of possible work.
Six road improvements were given high priority in a list submitted to the aldermen.
The two most costly projects would be North Fourth Street from Riverview to Wehner ($70,744, 3-inch overlay) and Biltmore from Riverview to Roberts ($55,431, 2 1/2-inch overlay).