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O’Fallon approves 2015 budget with over $16 million in street improvements

Water tower on School Street  (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Water tower on School Street
(Courtesy of Google Maps)

The O’Fallon City Council gave final approval to the city’s 2015 budget at a Dec. 11 meeting with a vote of 8 to 2.

The city is estimating revenues of $82,300,433, and expenditures of $84,463,689. The expected ending balance for 2015 in all funds is $41,260,733, a $2,163,256 decrease from the estimated start-of-year balance of $43,423,989.

Three of the biggest areas in expenditures stem from the street and road improvement fund, with $16,636,729 in expenditures; the sewer fund, with $10,036,046 and the water fund, with $6,488,685. The majority of the expenses in these funds will go toward maintaining and upgrading the infrastructure related to these areas.

In the water and sewer funds, $200,000 and $15,000 will be spent respectively for a rate analysis. Also in the water fund, $50,000 will be allocated to demolish the old water tower on School Street. In the street and road fund, approximately $4 million will be spent on improving the infrastructure of O’Fallon’s roads.

“For the streets, it’s going to be a very busy year for us,” Public Works Director Steve Bender said. “We’re going to do a lot of work on the streets that we haven’t been able to do in previous years.”

The general fund, which includes the capital expenditures fund, is expected to see revenues of $31,684,761 and expenditures of  $31,824,385, resulting in an overall decrease in revenue of $139,624, and an expected balance of $16,629,035 at the end of 2015.
Prior to the council’s final vote, Councilmember Rick Lucas (Ward 1) motioned to amend the budget to allot an additional $7,500 into the general fund (not included in the figures above). This money would be split between the different wards, with $1,500 at the disposal for each ward’s councilmembers. Finance Director Vicki Boschert would have to  approve usage of this money, and Lucas said his intent is that the funds will be used for items such as newsletters and signs to help organize homeowner meetings.

“We have a couple subdivisions that don’t have HOA’s (homeowners’ associations) associated with them,” Lucas said. “We either have to buy signs or hang up fliers. The city covers the cost, but there’s not an efficient way to track this, and by having these accounts separately we can keep track of the money that’s being spent to cover those kinds of expenses.”

Lucas added that he does not believe the councilmembers will use the entire $7,500 pool of funds. Lucas’ amendment passed on an oral vote with no objections.

For funds classified under “special revenue,” which includes the road improvement, recreation, stormwater, police training, sewer lateral insurance, transient guest tax, community development block grant, inmate security and parks funds, the end-of-year balance is expected to come in at $10,636,269, a $1,461,641 increase in revenue from Jan. 1, 2015. Revenues/expenditures are anticipated at $26,823,126/$25,361,485.

A final balance of $4,402,267 is expected at the end of 2015 in the debt service fund, with revenues and expenditures anticipated at $3,166,868 and $3,702,913 respectively.

In the “enterprise” category, which includes the water, sewer, environmental services, Spirit Center and public venue funds, the city is expected to start 2015 with a balance of $12,542,389 and end the year with $9,593,161, a difference of $2,949,288. Revenues and expenditures from these combined funds are anticipated at $20,625,678 and $23,574,906 respectively.

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