Hannibal City Council passes $13 million budget

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by Jim Dewey

HANNIBAL – The Hannibal City Council Tuesday night gave its second and final reading to the city’s two annual budget ordinances.

As noted after the June 1 meeting, the General Fund is $13,054,739 and the citywide budget with operating expenses and capital expenses is $25,489,731.  Hannibal Director of Finance Karen Burditt said the Covid crisis did not affect Hannibal’s last budget as much as city officials at first expected, but Burditt said the budget is still conservative.

In other action, Council revisited the request from State Representative Louis Riggs who asked the city to support an engineering study for a proposed bypass on U S Highway 61 around Hannibal. Council was split 3-3 on the idea during the June 1 meeting, but after learning more about the dangers present along the current path of the highway through town, 4th ward council member Alan Bowen changed his vote.

Bowen said “The safety of crashes and the children and first responders…was important to me.”

The safety of school children was also on the mind of Riggs, who said he had heard from the Hannibal Public School District about table-top exercises the district had performed that simulated wrecks involving hazardous or toxic chemicals at one of the three intersections affecting Hannibal High School and Hannibal Middle School, both situated on U.S. 61/McMasters Avenue.

Mayor James Hark, who opposed the study at the last meeting, was absent and the Council voted 5-1 in favor of sending a letter from the city to the Missouri Department of Transportation in favor of the study. 3rd Ward Council member Stephan Franke continued his opposition to the study saying his research on the bypass did not agree with arguments saying the city would benefit economically and that the city wasn’t plagued by the high amount of traffic on U.S. 61. 

Council also gave first reading to an ordinance that will ease restrictions on operating Utility Vehicles on city streets and approval was given to allow some city owned parking spaces to be blocked to allow the painting of a mural on the north wall of the Dutch Country General Store in late July.

Artist Ray Harvey is planning a 70 foot by 24 foot mural on that wall.

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