SMOOTH – Broadway, from one end of town to the other, is being paved this week.

How to spend $2.45 million is the question before the City Council

The new budget includes the first of two $1.2 million federal American Recovery payments

To keep $2.45 million or send it back to the federal government?

“My initial reaction was to turn it down,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Fisher, presiding over the Webb City Council meeting Monday. “But if you do it will go somewhere else.

“There’s $1.2 million ($1,224,233 actually) in our bank account right now, and I believe we’ll receive another $1.2 million a year from now.”

He proposed the $1.2 million that’s in the bank be plugged into the 2022 budget, although there’s no specific purpose for it yet.

“There are some parameters, but they are very wide,” said Fisher. Infrastructure is one possibility he mentioned.

The money “the government is giving us to spend,” as Fisher put it, is part of the American Rescue Plan Act. “You can imagine, with a city our size receiving $2 and a half million, what cities like New York are getting.”

The council didn’t discuss the budget much while in the process of accepting it on first reading. 

Fisher urged council members to study the budget, ask questions and propose any changes prior to second reading on Oct. 25.

City Administrator Carl Francis guides the budget process, accepting requests by department managers. Financial Administrator Tracy Craig prepares the budget.

The 2022 general fund budget is in the black. It begins with a $2,785,305 balance and is projected to end on Oct. 31, 2022, with a balance of $2,792,937.

Budgeted capital improvements total $2,058,290. They include:

$250,000 – street overlays

$687,650 – new vehicles and equipment

$350,000 – sewer line repair

$20,000 –  playground equipment at the newest city park (Stadium subdivision)

$50,000 for new parking lot and lights at the soccer field

$15,000 for a lava rocks softball field surface

$7,000 for a sidewalk between the baseball concession stand and parking lot.

New pavement on Broadway, one of this year’s largest budget items, is getting done this week.

In other action, the council:

• Approved Mayor Lynn Ragsdale’s appointment of Brittaney Newby to the Park Board.

• Accepted first reading of a bill to accept the voluntary annexation of 1007 Stadium Drive.

• Approved an ordinance rezoning 601 E. Tracy St. from single-family to multi-family. Burns Investments plans to build a three-story 12-unit apartment complex.

• Approved an ordinance vacating 300 feet of alleyway and utility easement running north-south between Centennial Street and Elliott Street (southwest corner of the roundabout). Burns Investments has cleared that block and is marketing it for commercial development.

• Approved an ordinance moving the northeast city limit, with Carterville’s approval, to include acreage that Webb City owns,

• Accepted a $25,000 grant from the State Emergency Management Agency to purchase a communication command vehicle.  The city will match the grant an equal amount, which is budgeted for next year. Fire Chief Andrew Roughton wrote the grant to take advantage of the new communication system to be established by Jasper County Emergency Services.

Carl Francis’ Administrator’s Report (written Thursday) is newsy this week. Here it is: