By ERIC X. VICCARO
Ste. Genevieve city administrator Happy Welch presented to the board of aldermen two different budget scenarios during a work session on Monday, Aug. 30.
One budget proposal included a potential contract with Alliance Water Resources, Inc., for the street and parks operations.
A second budget had the status quo with street and parks operations remaining with the city — which includes line items for salaries and benefits.
The Fiscal Year 2022 budgeting process appears to be rounding second base, with the first reading planned for the regularly scheduled board meeting on Sept. 9, and a second reading on Sept. 23.
It’s expected the budget will be hammered out in time for Friday, Oct. 1, the start of the next fiscal cycle.
Other city department heads made adjustments to their wish lists, including police chief Eric Bennett, who appeared before the board.
Bennett opted to remove Lexipol from a line item in his proposal.
“He wants to put in a video recording system in the new interview room,” Welch said regarding Bennett’s request in a telephone interview with the Herald on Friday.
There also will be additional wiring performance and increased surveillance throughout city hall, with a proposed price tag of $12,000.
Lexipol is a risk management solution for public safety and local government operations. The company provides training manuals and wellness resources for law enforcement entities.
Bennett also showed concern regarding remarks made about the insurance package given to Ste. Genevieve police officers.
The chief wondered why it was a “bone of contention” about benefits, especially at a time when he’s trying ensure his staff has a competitive package.
Ward 2 Alderman Bob Donovan said he didn’t mean to slight the police department over insurance.
Bennett said there should be a cap on the amount deducted from an officer’s paycheck per month due to carrying insurance.
Welch reported the FY 2022 health insurance, which also begins on Oct. 1, was brokered through Lakenan Insurance back in May, a plan through Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
The plan includes a 6.9 percent increase in premiums, as noted in a May 5 article in the Herald. Employees will start paying 20 percent of the dependent/spouse/family coverage. There are three main plans available for individuals and families: base, buy up and high deductible.
Should the board of aldermen not opt for Alliance, salaries and benefits for the street department will total $292,653 and $95,765 for parks.
Going with Alliance, the tentative operational budget would be $419,000; however, negotiations are still ongoing and that figure is subject to change.
The cap on street improvement projects this year is $250,000, and there are figures both with and without the addition of the Alliance Water Resources contract for street and parks.
It’s likely Parkwood Drive will be repaved using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, but that decision remains up to the board of aldermen.
The board of aldermen also entered discussions on a request from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
Floyd A. Truetken, project leader with the USFWS and a wildlife refuge manager, wrote Welch a letter requesting use of office space at the Park House inside Pere Marquette Park.
The USFWS would install an employee at the site to help manage their properties in the Middle Mississippi Valley Refuge.
“There would be no compensation from USFWS for use of the building,” Welch noted in a memorandum to the board of aldermen.”
Currently, the Ste. Genevieve Police Department is stationed at the Park House while its department inside city hall is undergoing renovations.
Norm Gallup, Levee District No. 3 superintendent, uses the Park House as a command center during emergencies, mainly flooding and other severe weather events.