Newspaper Archive of
The Sun Newspaper
Trenton, Illinois
December 17, 2008     The Sun Newspaper
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December 17, 2008

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008 Trenton Sun Page 3 - Local Trustees approve tax levy > continued from front page they occur." The loss of state payments would be only the latest in a series of financial setbacks for local schools and government. The difficulties have been caused by is- sues as national as a sour economy and plunging stock market, and as local as a delay in Clinton County property tax distributions. "The situation in Spring- field, coupled with the county issues, have made it an exciting budget year... I guess that's the right word," Daum said. In other school board business Monday: Trustees approved a tax levy that asks for a roughly 13 percent increase over last year. In keep- ing with truth-in-taxation laws, the board held a pub- lic hearing on the tax levy prior to the regular board meeting, but no public comment was made. The total levy amounts to about $4.9 million, but it is unlikely the district will receive that entire amount, since the rate in many funds is capped and equalized assessed valuation (EAV) in the district isn't likely to rise 13 percent. Superintendent Daum reported the Wesclin dis- trict is 51st on the list kept by the state capital devel- opment board to be considered for construction grants. Daum said that with the proposal from United States president-elect Barack Obama to use school construc- tion as part of the fuel for an overall economic stimu- lus package, the state could potentially receive some federal construction money to distribute. Daum said the ability to get such a project up and running quickly will be critical to the district's success in earning a grant. A few years ago, the district purchased 40 acres of property adjacent to the junior high-high school cam- pus. Daum said that will give the district a leg up on the process, since land acquisition is often one of the more time-consuming facets of construction projects. The district does not have immediate plans for con- struction, but Daum said it's important to be in posi- tion on the state list and be prepared if an opportunity presents itself. Trustees opted to take a calculated risk when ac- cepting a casualty and tort insurance contract for the district, choosing a higher deductible for earthquake coverage in exchange for a premium savings of over $15,000. The board voted to accept the proposal of Se- lective Services at a total premium of $93,462. Earlier this year, the district contracted with Bushue Services to analyze the insurance proposals. "Either way, the district will have better coverage with lower deduct- ibles," Daum said. Larry Shelton, who introduced himself as an ad- vocate for a Wesclin high school student and her fam- ily, asked the board to consider overturning an admin- istrative deci'sioh respect the student's ,desire to take college-credit classes in the second semeste~r. Shelton argued that even though he wasn't on the board's agenda, the matter is urgent because of loom- ing deadlines for college-credit registration. Wesclin board president Brian Kunz said the board will not hear Shelton's arguments until he had exhausted the proper channels. "We have a chain of command, and this board fol- lows it," Kunz said. Shelton said he has already talked with superintendent Daum in telephone conversa- tions, but Kunz said he needs to make an appointment and physically meet with Daum before moving on to board action. On Tuesday, Daum said it isn't appropriate for the board to take up the matter in any case, since it is an educational policy de ision. The board met in closed session at the end of its meeting Monday, but Daum said they did not hear testimony from Shelton or the family. "We explained the policy to the board," during closed session, Daum said. OPEN CHRISTMAS EVE from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. St. Rose, Illinois 618 526-7369 City Hall Hours -OPEN- Monday 8:30 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Tues.,-Fri. 8:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Closed Saturday 2009 Vehicle and Dog/Cat Licenses available for purchase December I st. ..... ~. ~::~!~! ~i~ ~':!~G'~ ~G~i~ii~i~i~i~i~ ~'~-~i~:~" ~:--',~ ~" -'i~:~ ~.-'~% ,~"~. ".,,:i~ " Bob Koentz, Mayor Carol Gajewski, City Clerk - Bette Wehrle, Treasurer City Hall - Telephone: 224-7323 Visit our web site at ALDERMEN Ward 1 : Kimberly "Frame Ward 2: Margaret Conley Gary Sellers Ward 3: Kevin Gruender Tom Harpstrite Hi speed wireless intemet & web hosting provided by i r Pre-School Performers THESE STUDENTS FROM RAINBOW PRE-SCHOOL were the first performers of the evening at Sunday's ecumenical Christmas concert at St. John United Church of Christ. Here, the kids ring Christmas bells to accompany their singing. Citizens suggest city seek i other revenue streams, cut expenses i > continued from front page $250,000. in the city's insurance pre- expenses for equipment and 1 Koentz noted that he de- miums and contributions tools has increased dramati- t cided to pay for the park quadrennial reassessment grant out of pocket rather and a new construction than borrowing the money spurt. The new tax base to pay for it, and the deci- also brought new financial sion backfired due to de- responsibilities to the city, layed property taxes, the including the maintenance sinking economy, and proj- of additional roads, provi- ect delays. sions for the future replace- Debbie Dvorscak sug- merit of asphalt and con- gested the city look for other crete streets, ways to boost revenues, such Citizens who gave testimo- as an increase in vehicle to employee retirement ac-cally, after those needs were counts. Employee accounts ignored by previous admin- rely on investment gains to istrations. "When I first keep rates paid by local gov- became mayor, I asked our ernment affordable, but the maintenance guys, 'where stock market downturn is are your tools' and they told driving those rates up. The city operates on an appropriation rather than a budget. Councilwoman Margaret Conley, a former mayor, said during her ad- me they borrowed tools from one of the council members," Koentz said. Koentz said he has ideas about places to cut the city's budget, but wants to leave ny suggested the city look to stickers. Dvorscak doesn'tministration the council those decisions for the next i cut expenses in some areas, have a car. Ewers said thehad begun working toward administration. "The park ! Darlene Ewers, who has city should re-consider ask- a true budget, but Mayor board is one of the first ] said she will seek an elective ing voters to approve an in- Koentz elected to stay with places I'd take money from," position in city government crease in local sales tax.appropriations. Koentz said. in this s g's non-partisan Other factors driving the Koentz countered that The council voted 5-0 to election ; ifCthe citytax increase are increasesduring his term the city'sapprove the tax levy. :! has a spreadsheet+ outlining! ~ categorized revenues and expenses. "Where's the mon- ey going?," Ewers asked. "I think we all need to under- stand the Trenton budget- ary process. Where has the increase been over the past five years?" Virgil Ripperda said his property taxes increased by over $650 this year, which Weisenfeld explained was due to an increase in the assessment of his land. Rip- perda said he appealed his reassessment, but the board of review asked him, "Do you live in Trenton?," and simply shrugged their shoulders. Ripperda, a former mayor, also noted that the city has had a contingency fund in the past to deal with tempo- rary budget shortages. The city has little surplus at this point, but its finan- cial picture should improve somewhat with the recent arrival of the first install- ment of real estate taxes. At some point, the city should also receive reimburse- ment for half of the park project finished this sum- mer, expected to be about fit's Party Tim !l celebrating it's T 3rdBirthday/ 10% OFF Store Wide! Some items 25-50% OFF/ FREE latex balloon for kids with purchase! 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