The Minonk City Council went over a "wish list" of budget items from the various department heads at a special council meeting Monday night. Budget consultant Arthur A. Osten, Jr met with the department heads last week and compiled a preliminary budget containing items that they wanted for fiscal year 2018-2019. The council reviewed the budgeted items and discussed them with the various department heads at the meeting.
Mr. Osten said the ESDA department will be $39,000 in the hole by the end of the fiscal year of April 2018. Among the wish items on the ESDA list according to ESDA head Tanya Minz was spray installation for the ESDA building which would cost $4000 for the ceilings and $3200 for the walls.
The top priority for the Ambulance squad is a new ambulance which would cost $176,000. There is only $149,000 in the gaming fund set aside for the purchase. However, Mr. Osten said the gaming fund will receive $30,000 this year which will enable the purchase of the ambulance. A new heart monitor is also on the list of must need items as the State is requiring ambulances to have the latest heart monitor which have more features than the one currently being used.
Mayor Bill Koos said the City will be putting out bids for a new ambulance with a March 21 deadline for replies.
Police Chief Mark Wright said he wants to cut down on the number of part-time police officers and hire a full-time officer. He said the department has hired and trained 20 part-time officers over the last 3 years and only 3 are still with the department. He said the city is wasting a lot of money training part-time employees who eventually leave. Chief Wright said the city is going in partnership with the Fieldcrest High School to split the cost of a resource officer for the high school in which the city and the school will split the cost. In the summer the officer will spend full time on city work.
Officer Wright said the city also needs a new squad car. A new SUV police car would cost around $44,000 while a regular police car would cost $41,000. The department currenly is on a 6 year replacement cycle for police cars.
The Parks & Rec department want a new score board for the Veterans Park ball park on its list of items. Mayor Koos said they should wait to resurface the tennis courts until resurfacing is done on Chestnut street in order to get a better rate.
The garbage contract will expire in November of this year and there will be a 15 cent increase per pickup per month on the garbage fee. Alderman Russell Ruestman said the city should look into having curbside recycling when negotiating for a new garbage pickup contract. Mayor Koos said the current system of having people bringing their recyclables to the trailers at city hall is working very well but the trailers cost $16,000 each and will have to be replaced soon. The council agreed to continue to have a clean-up day this spring.
The water department has to do a valve exercising program this year in which all valves need to be tested under pressure and replace those deemed defective at the water treatment plant. Also, they need to replace the 48 membranes at $600 each sometime this year. The membranes need to be replaced every 5 to 7 years. In addition, a backup pump is needed since there is no spare pump in case of a pump going down.
The council finished the meeting by going over and revising the job classification wording for various jobs.
In public comments, Dave Uphoff told the council to consider having surveillance cameras at the Westside Park and Millenium Park. He also said the ceiling at the Westside Park pavilion needs to be varnished. He concluded by asking the council to complete the plan approved last summer to put in sidewalks and gateway blocks around the fire site lot at the corner of Fifth and Chestnut streets.