Tri States Public Radio Staff
Major Capital Expenses
Tue March 6, 2012
Keokuk Approves City Budget
Keokuk’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012 attempts to get the city back on track when it comes to equipment and infrastructure.
The city council has approved the roughly $29-million spending plan after working on it for several months and holding multiple Saturday workshops.
The numbers show that most departmental budgets will be at or just slightly above their level in the current city budget.
Mayor Tom Marion says holding down spending was one goal for the new budget.
He says another was to get caught up on capital projects, after skipping them last year.
Marion says the city cannot repeat that when it comes to vehicles or equipment.
The budget features $5.5-million in capital purchases.
Roughly 80% of that figure will go towards Keokuk Municipal Airport in the form of a federal grant and a local match to resurface a runway.
Finance Director John Russell says that figure does not include the additional $260,000 needed to meet the reconfigured local match for the federal grant.
The city could be forced to borrow money to cover that amount.
Keokuk will spend another $1.1-million on two police cars, bullet-proof vests, radios, computers, generators and a street sweeper, among other items.
Mayor Tom Marion says the property tax rate will remain the same next year ($15.92) and there are no planned lay-offs or program cuts.
One project not in Keokuk’s upcoming budget is the reconstruction of Grand Avenue.
The project has been on hold for a variety of reasons in recent years.
The latest being the city’s plan to pump storm-water from Grand to the Mississippi River.
The proposed route would pass beneath railroad tracks owned by BNSF Railway.
Alderman Mike O’Connor says Keokuk should consider eminent domain if the company is not willing to work with the city.
He says that show the city is serious about the project.
Keokuk had hoped to reach an agreement with BNSF on how to proceed last year.
Public Works Director Mark Bousselot says the company has a new contact on the matter and that that person is being brought up to speed.