Posted Online: July 20, 2010, 9:49 pm

Silvis anticipates no layoffs, says departments have been operating under budget

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By Seth Kabala, correspondent@qconline.com

SILVIS -- City workers can breathe easy — for now.

Finance chairman Ald. Barb Fox, 2nd Ward, told council members Tuesday that her committee is not considering layoffs now because the estimated general fund balance of $249,900 through the end of July is higher than expected.

The increase was due to several departments being under budget through July, such as city administrator Jim Grafton saving $18,597 and Silvis Police Chief Bill Brasche saving $17,000. The city also received its February income tax allotment of $56,878 from the state.

As long as the city keeps receiving its income tax allotments, things should be fine, said Ald. Fox. But she warned future expenses -- such as an anticipated hike in insurance premiums this fall for risk management, worker's compensation and general liability -- could alter the council's plans.

"If we get to $100,000 or less (in the general fund), we've got some serious, serious looking to do," she said. "If it comes to that, we will be back at this table trying to make a decision."

In other business, aldermen:

-- Approved maintenance fees for the Motor Fuel Tax program totaling approximately $174,000 split between materials acquisition, $146,160.56, and the seal coat program, $47,383.92.

-- Tabled discussion of city hall roofing repairs pending a Parks, Building and Grounds meeting. City inspector Tom Lupinski said one of the two contractors who bid on the project said asbestos must be removed, adding $9,000 to the bid. City Engineer Roger Geiken disagreed, saying the removal was not needed as long as the asbestos didn't become airborne. He compared covering asbestos in the roof to laying carpet over asbestos floor tiles, but said he wanted to check into the issue before the council took further action.

-- Advanced the purchase of a natural gas powered generator needed to power the 17th Avenue water plant and nearby communications equipment to a full council vote on Aug. 3.