City Unveils 2012 Budget

ST. MARYS — Members of a city committee got the first glimpse of the 2012 budget for the city of St. Marys.

St. Marys Safety-Service Director Tom Hitchcock unveiled the preliminary 2012 budget during a finance committee meeting Monday night. The proposed measure clocked in at $44.73 million, more than $3 million less than the 2011 budget of $47.85 million. As of June 17, the city has incurred expenditures of $16.45 million. In 2008, the city spent $50.39 million. It spent $45.85 million in 2009 and $40.17 million in 2010.

“Some of this is going to change based upon what projects we get done and what ones we don’t,” Hitchcock said. “Some could get pushed back.”

Among the major expenditures for 2012 are the High Street bridge replacement project and corresponding street reconstruction project. With a total cost of approximately $715,000, Hitchcock said the two projects will be a major undertaking for the city.

“Cost wise, it’s a big project for us,” Hitchcock said. “Plus we’ll be doing the High Street reconstruction pretty much from the bridge to Spruce Street. It’s getting rough and we’ve been waiting because we don’t want to shut that area down twice.”

The bridge project has been delayed because of concerns regarding the grist mill. Hitchcock said the city received permission to alter the process as to not impact the grist mill during the reconstruction of the bridge.

“The state has now allowed us to use some boring caissons instead of having to pile drive everything,” Hitchcock said. “We think we can move it far enough west without having to take the building. It’s going to end up shifting the whole bridge to the west. It’s either that or we get held up more time.”

Hitchcock said because of the use of state funds, the project cannot start until after July 1, 2012, and must be completed by June 30, 2013.

He estimated the project will take six months but will be given an eight-month window for completion.

Another $400,000 expenditure is slated to be earmarked for the completion of the Tomlinson substation addition. The McKinley Road water tower is scheduled for an interior re-coating. The water tower was built in the early 1990s.

Hitchcock also said he is exploring the option of updating the tax department’s computer software to allow for online tax filings. The upgrade also could result in online utility bill payments as well as the acceptance of credit cards.

“We aren’t exactly sure this time of the year how much that is going to entail at this moment,” Hitchcock said. “It may not be next tax season, but it may the tax season after that.”

Other big-ticket items include $180,000 for the demolition of the brick chimney at the power plant to breeching and $147,000 to replace a dump truck/snow plow/salt spreader.