MARION -- A $45.6-million spending plan was approved by the Marion City Council on Monday night in a special meeting that followed a public hearing on the budget.
City Treasurer Steve Hale told the council the budget has expenditures of $45,633,350 with revenues forecast at $43,312,650, a difference of $2.32 million.
Not to worry, Hale explained.
"The expenditures are over the revenues, but that's mainly due to the spending down of our fund balances, mainly in the TIF area. "We have cash available and we've saved up for certain projects."
Actually, the budget could have a surplus, noted Mayor Anthony Rinella.
"There is an anticipated surplus of a little over $102,000," Hale confirmed. "It's going to be tight, but we're a lot better off than other area municipalities."
The council, with Rinella and commissioners Angelo Hightower, Doug Patton and Jim Webb, accepted the budget in a unanimous vote. Commissioner John Goss was absent.
The council was split 3-1 on the payment of $1,000 as hold money for the purchase of property for the proposed new 500,000-gallon water tower on the city's northeast side. The $2.58 million project would be paid for with a loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which could forgive up to 75 percent of that loan.
Hightower, who has consistently opposed the water tower plan, voted no against Rinella, Patton and Webb.
In the other business, the council unanimously approved the following:
• $9,536.50 to replace worn-out guides on the conveyor belt that carries biosolids from the sewage treatment process into the storage building. Wastewater Treatment Superintendent Brent Cain said the purchase was an emergency situation.
• Predevelopment agreements in the Highland Street tax-increment financing district with 500WD62959, the company that is developing new businesses at 500 W. De Young, and 1100-1101-NH62959, the developer of property at 1100 and 1101 N. Highland.
• Approval of Zach Odom as Street Department lead man, replacing the retiring Jeff Pickens.
Finally, State Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton, presented certificates of appreciation to the departing council members Hightower and Rinella, as well as Goss.
Rinella had parting advice to his successor, Mayor-Elect Mike Absher.
"When you go to Chamber meetings and ribbon cuttings, always speak before Dave," he joked.
And Commissioner Webb, who will join Absher, Patton and new commissioners John Barwick Jr. and John Stoecklin on the next council, also thanked Rinella for his service.
He read a reminder for the departing council members to turn in any city property, which in Rinella's case is a small ring of keys.
"That's the only property I have of the city's -- my keys," Rinella said.