Ferdinand leaders control budget spending


FERDINAND — With an estimated $2.13 million budgeted for town expenses in 2021, Ferdinand leadership aims to contain next year’s spending efforts while supporting existing facilities and equipment.

“In going through our budget this year, we’re looking at trying to contain the costs that we have,” said Ken Sicard, president of the Ferdinand Town Council. “We can’t continually increase because taxes just don’t keep up with it. And we’re adding services and keeping services. I guess the big thing is, we’re keeping the services we have without adding additional monies as best we can.”

Maintaining and sanitizing parks, continuing to install decorative lighting on Main Street and purchasing backup transformers for commercial and industrial customers are all on next year’s docket.

“We’re trying to control our costs as best we can,” Sicard said, “realizing that the money we depend on — which is called taxes — can’t increase enormously every year for us. And because of the rules of the state, we have to watch what we spend. And so we’re working very hard at trying to get better control of that.”

Town employees are in line to receive cost-of-living wage increases in 2021 — though the exact amounts have not yet been determined. Those increases are distributed by supervisors, Sicard explained, and the amounts they will receive to dish out will be influenced by factors like health insurance and retirement plans.

Also included in the budget is the repainting of a standpipe near Monastery Immaculate Conception, setting money aside that would go toward the future replacement of a piece of fire department equipment, and relining a piece of sewer main that runs between East Second Street and Illinois Street. Leaders also plan to apply for the next round of Community Crossings Matching Grant Program to get funds that would be used for local roadwork.

All of these moves will ultimately require additional council approval before they are completed.

“That sure enables us to get a lot more for our money,” Sicard said of the grant funding. “The amount of money that we would have put into the streets, now, we can increase that by 300 times with state support. So if we get it, we can really help ourselves out there.”

Ferdinand’s estimated 2021 budget is $2,126,214. This is up slightly from 2020’s number, which came in at $2,087,668. The budget is set to come before the council for adoption in a special meeting that will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Town Hall, 2065 Main St.

At the council’s monthly meeting Tuesday night, the group also:

  • Heard that leaf collection dates will be announced in the near future.
  • Heard that an open house for the Old Town Lake trail project will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the lake. Activities will be held at the lake for kids, and the Kona Ice shaved ice truck will be at the grounds. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m.
  • Approved a resolution that implements policies that are aimed at safeguarding town employees by offering extended FMLA leave, emergency paid leave and more. Those policies will remain in effect through the remainder of the year, unless extended by another resolution.
  • Held a 2021 budget hearing. No public comments were made.
  • Approved a resolution that is aimed at assisting utility customers who are struggling to pay their bills by implementing an installment arrangement form.
  • Approved the route of this year’s Tri-County YMCA Monster Dash 5K run and walk. The annual event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31, and will start and end at the Tri-County YMCA at 10 a.m.
  • Approved setting the town’s Halloween trick-or-treating hours from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31. These hours apply only to homes that have their porch lights on — homes with lights off are not to be visited.
  • Opened a quote for a backhoe that would be shared by the town’s street, water, sanitary sewer and electric departments. The quote — which included several payment options — was taken under advisement.
  • Heard that renderings of enhancements that could be made to Ferdinand Town Hall are complete. The council approved advertising that project for bids and will open those bids at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m., at the Ferdinand Community Center, 1710 Community Drive.
  • Heard that the 2020 Rosenvolk Festival has been canceled. Also heard that the event’s leaders are requesting to host two festivals in 2021 — one in May, and another in October. That request would ultimately need to be approved by the town’s park board.
  • Held an additional appropriation hearing. No public comments were made. The $149,998 in funds received as part of a Community Crossings grant will be used to pay for the roadwork that was part of that grant.
  • Approved the street department to move forward on an application for the state’s second round of Community Crossings grants.
  • Heard that a tax abatement request will come before the council at its special budget meeting on Sept. 29.
  • Heard of a proposed street ordinance that would limit parking to one side of the road on certain streets. Through the ordinance, “No Parking” signs would be put up on the west side of Kimberly Court, the south side of Caesar's Court, the west and north sides of Ridgeway Court, the west side of Robin Drive, the south side of Cardinal Drive and the south side of Meadowlark Lane. A vote on the ordinance was tabled until the council’s next meeting.
  • Approved the street department to paint the curb on the south side of Fifth Street, at the street’s intersection with Main Street.

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