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W‘Bago advertising vacancy

By Staff | Dec 7, 2009

Dana Gates

The city of Winnebago will soon begin advertising for a new deputy city clerk.

The City Council voted Wednesday night to seek applications until someone is hired and keep the position full-time.

When Jessi Sturtz submitted her letter of resignation last month, City Administrator Jennifer Feely gave the council two options: contract for the services to save on training and turnover costs or fill the vacancy as in the past.

Councilmen Dana Gates and Rick Johnson favor hiring someone because they do not want to send jobs out of town.

“Proper coverage is important to me. The clerk is the face of Winnebago. Someone should be at the front desk to help people when they come in,” says Gates.

Feely says the city has not received a proposal yet from its auditing firm on the cost of doing the deputy clerk’s duties.

Councilman Chris Ziegler asked Feely to still get a price estimate from the city’s auditors.

“I don’t think it could hurt anything. If they blow us out of the water with a great price, then we could stop the hiring process,” Ziegler says.

In other business, council members continued their work on next year’s budget.

The proposed levy hike had been whittled down from 20 percent set in September to 11 percent.

However, Feely warned the council that news of the state’s expected $1.2 billion deficit this fiscal year could result in more unallotments.

Johnson says a news report he saw on television said education and cities are being targeted for funding cuts.

“It seems to me we are on the list. It makes me wonder if we should put a little back in anticipating that,” he says.

Johnson suggested maybe adding more to capital outlay spending. He says $5,000 cut for a police vehicle could be restored.

That would increase the levy slightly to 12.3 percent, the same as last year.

“I’m comfortable with that. I wouldn’t want to go any higher,” says Gates.

Ziegler asked Feely to provide an overall assessment on how the various departments are doing budget-wise.

“All the departments have done a great job. We’ll come in under budget on expenditures,” says Feely.

The police department has spent only about 70 percent of its budget so far.

Police chief Bob Toland told the council if cuts needed to be made next year, they could start with funds to buy a squad car.

“If we really get in serious trouble we could cut the entire amount. I would see no need for it,” he says.

Ziegler say the city can recertify its levy if state aid is taken away.

The council must approve a final budget by Dec. 15.

At Tuesdays meeting, a Truth in Taxation hearing will be held.