Quincy City Council approves record $47.2 million annual budget

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QUINCY — When Mike Troup took office as Quincy’s mayor last May, he had to work with the budget the previous administration constructed and the City Council had approved.

And his first year ended with an unanticipated $9 million in additional tax revenue and $5.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding.

That led to Troup’s first budget being a record for the city: $47.2 million.

Troup said he didn’t expect this windfall to be an annual event.

“This entire year, with the collections…everything else has happened…you know, when the comptroller (Sheri Ray) comes in and says we’ve collected $9 million more in revenue, you’re like, what’s the problem?”

But a boost in Personal Property Replacement Tax (PPRT) from the state fueled the spike. Troup, and many of the alderman, said they don’t expect lightning to strike twice when it comes from largesse from the state as there have been years when PPRT payments from the state have been swept.

Ray agreed with the assessment that PPRT can be a moving target. Also the city has generated revenue through additional gaming machines, marijuana sales and the 1 percent Food and Beverage Tax.

Last year’s proposed budget was $39.4 million, but didn’t call for the additional revenues.

Aldermen approved the budget by an 11-1 margin. Alderman Mike Rein (R-5th Ward) cast the lone no vote and Alderman Dave Bauer (D-2) was absent. There is also one vacancy as Katie Awerkamp resigned her 6th Ward seat and her last meeting was April 18.

Alderman Jeff Bergman (R-2) said he wants the city to be ready when the bubble bursts, citing inflation and high gas prices as the canaries in the coal mine.

Troup acknowledged that.

“When you’re spending more on gas and you have the inflation or other expenses, there’s less money for discretionary spending, which is what a lot of our sales tax revenues come from,” he said. “So it is something we’ve been watching you know, for months, and we haven’t seen any dip yet. There are some leveling but I think as we are today, looking at the projections, I think it’s a fair educated guess as to where we are.”

The Quincy Police Department budget is $15.3 million, which does call for staffing up to 70 officers and the Quincy Fire Department budget is $12.9 million and will add two firefighters.

Ray said the QPD budget usually calls for full staffing, but that hasn’t happened recently. Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley, who is retiring May 6, has said hiring more officers should be a priority for his successor.

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