City proposes $9.1 million budget
At its regular meeting on Tuesday, the Quincy City Council is expected to approve a $9.1 million operating budget for next year.
The 2015 proposed budget also includes $3.6 million in the city’s capital budget for the construction of a new police station and city hall.
The project will be a mix of renovation and new construction, with plans calling for the demolition of the former city fire station and a house next to it, as well as the renovation of the former city library. The police department will take up much of the current city hall, while city administration will be moved to the former library.
The project should be put out to bid during the first quarter of next year, and construction would go into 2016, Mayor Jim Hemberry said.
The city is coming off of a busy construction year that saw the completion of a new animal shelter and a community stage at Lauzier Park as well as several large street projects, including final improvements made to Division Street.
Sales taxes, which have been increasing over the years because of new construction in Quincy, have paid for these recent capital projects, Hemberry said. The city’s property taxes alone have increased four fold in the last seven years, he said.
The 2015 budget estimates property taxes to generate $3.4 million and sales taxes to generate $2 million for the city.
Some of the other projects slated for next year include:
•The city budgeted $175,000 for the design of a public safety facility on city-owned property north of the railroad tracks. The unmanned station will house a city fire engine, and it also may house police and emergency response equipment, Hemberry said. The city was to have a meeting this week with an architect about the building’s design, he said.
•About $500,000 is budgeted for the development of a recreation center. The city plans to purchase property for the center and begin its design phase in 2015. “I’m confident we’ll be buying some property next year,” Hemberry said.
•About $220,000 will be spent on sidewalk improvements, most of which will be along highways 28 and 281, Hemberry said. Another $260,000 is budgeted for the construction of a walking path connecting students to Monument Elementary School.
•The city also has applied to the state Transportation Improvement Board for a $3.5 million grant that would be used to make traffic improvements to 13th Avenue. If the city receives the grant, it would contribute just under $1 million, Hemberry said. The city has discussed several options that would help resolve congestion at the intersection of 13th Avenue and Highway 28; however, the grant would help determine the best option to pursue, Hemberry said.
For the last six years, the council has focused on making improvements using increasing tax revenues generated by the new businesses moving to town, Hemberry said.
Many of the city’s facilities, including city hall and the police station, were built in the 1950s, he said. The new facilities should last the city for the next 60 years, he added.
“We’re trying to make things better for the people who live here,” Hemberry said.
The city council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at city hall.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, firstname.lastname@example.org