After suspending the rules at its meeting Monday, the Metropolis City Council adopted the annual appropriations ordinance for fiscal year 2020-21.

The appropriations ordinance provides the legal authority under which the municipality allocates money to specific spending activities. For the 2020-21 fiscal year, that amount is $34,262,450 for the city of Metropolis.

“This year’s appropriations ordinance is about $2.2 million less than the previous year,” Linda Smith, chief accountant for the City of Metropolis, explained during a public hearing held just before the night’s regular council meeting.

That difference “is mainly due to your decisions to manage and prioritize construction projects,” Smith continued. “We also tried stay as close to the previous appropriations as possible, only increasing items that were necessary for repairs or things that had to be replaced. We did have to make a wage increase according to the electrical contract, which you have every year.”

COVID also impacted those final appropriation figures.

“Due to COVID, our tax allocations from the state of Illinois are running 15 to 20% less; gradually, hopefully, that will begin to increase,” Smith said. “We did not receive gaming for April, May or June. They did open in July, but that is down from last year.”

One shining spot, Smith noted: “Our medical claims were down $225,000 but that, of course, is something that can change in a short period of time.”

Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel commended the council on its work over the last several weeks on the appropriations ordinance.

“We would not be in the shape we are now financially if it wasn’t for the due diligence and concern of our city government on trying to cut the items you can cut. Some things you can’t do anything about. The (departments) are good at asking for only what they need,” McDaniel said.

In other business Monday night, the council:

• Approved payment to ACI X for relocation of the sewer on Austin Street in the amount of $16,500. Austin runs parallel with the city pool and the newly installed splash park. McDaniel explained the sewer line ran under the splash park and had to be relocated.

• Approved the purchase of a badger box from Allen Trench Safety in the amount of $4877. McDaniel explained the box would be used in the digging of water mains, sewer mains and the like to insure the safety of workers where the work is over shoulder deep. It will be used by all departments. The funding for the box will come from the safety grant the city receives yearly from its Workmen’s Compensation Insurance carrier.

• Adopted an ordinance amending and extending the residential solid waste collection and disposal collector’s contract between the city and Bulldog Systems, LLC. City attorney Rick Abell explained the extension puts the residential garbage pick up by Bulldog on the same timeline as its transfer station contract with the city, with both expiring in 2027.

• Adopted an ordinance approving an amendment to a redevelopment agreement between the city and ASG-RE, LLC.

Abell explained ASG-RE is the hemp processor located in the city’s industrial park in the former Land of Lincoln building. In the building purchase, Land of Lincoln was to cover the taxes but was unable to come up with the money, and ASG-RE asked the city for assistance. Because of the building’s location, “the entire tax bill they pay goes into the TIF. So if we were to pay the tax bill, the money would all come back to us when distribution is made. We pay it, it doesn’t cost us anything and they don’t see any TIF benefits until next year.”

Tax increment financing, TIF, is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure and other community-improvement projects.

The agreement also extends the TIF an additional year so the company will receive its full 10-year benefit.

“It a wash that doesn’t cost us a thing and they’ll get TIF next year,” Abell said.

• And, approved repairs to the backhoe in the amount of $1655.

The Metropolis City Council meets the second and fourth Monday of each month, unless it’s a holiday. Due to COVID restrictions, meetings can be heard via teleconference by calling 832-831-2424 and using conference ID 169552. Teleconference participants are asked to mute their phones during the meeting.

Those wishing to make public comment should contact the City Clerk’s office prior to the meeting at 524-2711 and provide their name and phone number. Those attending in person should be prepared to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

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