Jackson board ready to finalize 2008 budget

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On Monday, Jackson's board of aldermen will hold a public hearing on the city's 2008 budget.

According to Jim Roach, the city's administrator, next year's bills will total $30 million. The city has conservatively estimated $28 million in revenue, he said. The city is not in the red, he said.

"Bond money set aside for some construction projects and some accounts have funds carried over from previous years for ongoing projects," he said.

Among the rising costs city officials face is the price of health insurance. After Trustmark Insurance Company predicted a 26.5 percent increase, Roach said the city asked for bids from other companies and switched to Great West Healthcare.

"We ended up with, roughly, a 9.5 percent increase," he said. Employees' deductibles will drop, from $1,200 with Trustmark to $1,000 with Great West.

Health insurance costs the city $1.2 million a year and is the city's second-highest bill, after salaries, Roach said.

He said one of the ways the city will hold costs down is by not hiring any additional workers.

Among next year's major projects will be the beginning of Old Orchard Road, between the East Main Street interchange and Bainbridge Road. Engineering and construction bills will be partly funded by a $1.2 million check from MoDOT -- money left over from the interchange construction.

Roach said while the northeast corner of the city has been in the spotlight, it's not the only major improvement. He said an Oak Street sidewalk, planned for installment next year, will link some of Jackson's schools to the city park.

Check back for updates or read tomorrow's Southeast Missourian.

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