By Stephanie Malench
The Collinsville Township held several meetings on July 24 at the Senior Center, including a public hearing to learn about the town and road and bridge budgets and a special meeting to sell excess items from the Senior Center.
During public comment, the first resident to speak was Ron Jedda. Jedda encouraged the board to study other townships before making major changes in the budget, and that by law they can come back in six months to revise the budget. He also encouraged the board to write future budgets comparing budget to budget and actual to actual in future years.
Linda Bohnenstiehl asked if budget allows for extras such as if a tornado or natural disaster hits and extra resources are needed. Scott Rayho reminded the board “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good”.
Road and bridge commissioner Kathy Trucano-Hoelscher presented the highlights of her department’s budget. A slight $37,000 increase was made in the 2021 budget over the 2020 budget. The new budget is $3,859,600.
Within the Road and Bridge General Fund, office supplies and equipment will each be increase to $4,000 to purchase new chairs, bulletin and white boards, phones and computers for offices.
Engineering services was cut from $100,000 to $50,000 due to major projects being out of the design phase. The street light program is down to $60,000 from $70,000 because lights are being replaced with LED lights that do not have the bulbs replaced as often. Road maintenance was lowered to $40,000 from $50,000.
Road projects was lowered from $630,000 to $583,000. This is due to the Old Troy Rd project being paid for up front, saving $57,275 on the $283,000 project. Madison County Highway Department provided $64,658.63.
The equipment fund will go up $150,000 to allow for the purchase of two zero turn mowers, two new mowers for tractors, a new asphalt conveyor belt, and a construction box truck.
Township Supervisor Derrick Cox then went over his changes to the general town budget from the budget submitted by the previous administration. He did not propose any changes to the assessor or road and bridge budgets, saying those can be amended at any time with a 30-day public notice.
The 2021-2022 budget was cut 20.3%, ($287,000) from $1,412,500 to $1,125,500. The largest cut was under capital outlay (improvements to the township administration building not the senior center), from $121,500 to $50,000. Senior center capital outlay was cut from $256,00 to $220,000.
Other cuts included office salaries down from $232,500 to $230,000, elected officials’ salaries down from $257,172 to $210,000 after the previous board passed a 25% pay cut for the supervisor and 50% cut for each trustee. Assessor, Clerk, and Road Commissioner salaries remained the same. Legal services went down to $17,000 from $20,500.
Two budget items saw increases, including IT services from $3900 to $14,000 to upgrade the website (making it easier to follow and more secure) and publishing from $1,500 to $12,000 (so taxpayers- especially city residents- can know more about how their tax dollars are spent).
In the General Assistance Fund, administration was cut from $75,350 to $70,350 and Home Relief was cut from $101,050 to $64,550.
A new budget item was added, programs for seniors for $30,000, providing new programs for seniors at the senior center.
Assessor Peter Poletti kept a similar budget from last year except for an increase in training from $5,910 to $10,000 so employees can attend additional trainings to help with their jobs.
Both budgets passed unanimously.
The final meeting of the evening was to approve the sale of surplus items from the senior center. Because there was no annual meeting this year, the items could not be donated. The item passed unanimously.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for July 13 at 7 p.m. at the Senior Center.