Marengo Area News Briefs

REFERENDUM RESULTS CERTIFIED; ELECTION DAY BALLOT SNAFU

The two referendum questions on the Apr. 2 consolidated election ballot pertaining to the Marengo Fire Protection District and the Marengo Rescue Squad District, where both entities sought an increase of their tax appropriation shares, passed with a healthy majority. However, incorrect wording on paper ballots sent to polling places caused some confusion but was corrected early. While unofficial results remained virtually unchanged from the Apr. 2 totals, the last day for acceptance of mail-in ballots was Apr. 16.

“I was notified by an election judge personally, and we immediately sent out flyers making voters aware of the correct version,” said Debra Nieto, deputy clerk for the Mc Henry County Clerk’s Office. “Why, it happened? The short answer is…we don’t know, and have no explanation. The remedial action was quick and the results were not impacted. All the votes were certified Apr. 18.”

The rescue squad question of a special tax levy rate not to exceed 0.40 percent of the taxable property value for providing or supporting an ambulance service was approved 850-616. The fire protection district sought an increase of an additional amount equal to 0.077822 percent above the limiting rate for levy year 2017, and “0.394562 of the equalized assessed value of the taxable property therein for levy year 2019” passed 761- 542. The issue was 0.394562 not having “percent.”

“We don’t know how it happened, we knew it was correct in voters’ guidebooks…it was caught very early and not a lot of ballots were put out,” said John Kimmel, deputy chief for the fire protection district. “It was fixed by about Noon, and paper ballots were posted with the correct question in the voting booths.

“This is great support from the community, and we’re very humbled. We understand it’s a tough decision for taxes to go up in our state,” he said. “This company…and the people of Marengo and Union understand out needs. Emergency responders among our personnel deserve a basic benefits package. This time next year, our people will start getting insurance…we don’t see the funding right away, since the budget year starts May 1, 2020. The real work starts now.”

MARENGO UNANIMOUSLY PASSES FISCAL YEAR BUDGET

The Marengo City Council unanimously passed the Fiscal Year 2019/2020 budget, during its Apr. 22 meeting. The General Fund starting balance of $1,363,884 with 117.3 days of cash reserves, will end with a projected amount of $1,370,790 and 117.9 days of cash reserves. Projected revenues for the year are estimated at $4,249,846 which is offset by $4,242,490 in expenses.

The Water/Sewer Fund balance shows a starting amount of $302,664 and 63 days of cash reserves, and an ending balance of $303,732 with 63.2 days of cash reserves. Projected revenues for the fund were listed as $1,755,272 and an offset of $1,754,205 in expenses.

The 19-page itemization also includes the city’s overall contribution to the police pension fund at $492,138. The amount was discussed during a Mar. 25 city council session.

“The fiscal year runs from May 1 through Apr. 30, and the city council passed a budget this is financially-balanced,” said City Manager Josh Blakemore. “Regarding the police pensions, we are making the effort to keep the city’s contributions at a stable level.