BETHALTO — Municipalities have been forced to make budget cuts because of financial changes at the state level, but Bethalto officials have taken it in stride and see some of the cuts as benefiting residents.
During the Dec. 7 regularly scheduled board meeting, the Village Board approved a tax levy that was approximately $150,000 less than the 2014-2015 levy.
“We’ve done some more trimming on the expense side of our budget,” Mayor Alan Winslow said. “We’ve been able to capitalize on some attrition by not filling positions of retired village paid positions. That has brought the payroll down. The new trash service will save us a little over $70,000 a year. All combined, we’re in a position to drop the levy by 8.2 percent. We’re very pleased that we’re able to make that kind of progress.”
The village of Bethalto has employees slated to retire and those positions may remain vacant as a part of future budget cuts.
Village trustees met Dec. 14 in a special meeting to discuss a new liability insurance proposal and a recommendation from the planning commission concerning Thatcher Trace Subdivision.
The board voted 4-0 to accept the new insurance company, which is expected to make a large dent in the 2015-2016 tax levy.
“Tonight the board voted to change the insurance company for the village of Bethalto,” Winslow said. “The new insurance company will save us between $80,000 to $85,000 a year. Those figures will go into effect for next year’s tax levy. That is a big substantial cut right there, and we’re thrilled.”
The village’s planning commission recommended a variance in favor of Aaron Hudson concerning foregoing the mandatory sidewalks and curbs in a rural area.
“Mr. Hudson has a lot of ground he wanted to split,” Winslow said. “The area in which his land is located is a very rural area and it really doesn’t need to have sidewalks provided at this time. He already had approval through the county; he just needed our approval as well. We’ve been through situations like this before and we didn’t see any reason to make something difficult for this resident.”
During the special meeting, the village also voted 4-0 on a resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the professional service agreement with Good Energy LP for the supply of electricity for residential and small commercial customers who do not opt out.