Where the money went: A town-by-town look at 2017 government spending

Where the money went: A town-by-town look at 2017 government spending

MONTICELLO splurged for $285,590 worth of log-crawl-thrus, merry-go-alls and other assorted playground equipment at Nick's Park (right).

CHAMPAIGN paid $10,472.80 to equip five new police SUVs with protective barriers, separating the officer in the front seat from the person in custody in the back.

SADORUS spent $9,868.89 for 30 oak, elm, cypress and maple trees to spruce up the village park.

But the most unique purchase we came across in our third annual review of area towns' spending was the Hungary-born, Tilton-trained crimefighter that joined URBANA's police force in October.

Introducing Officer Axel, a 1-year-old Shepherd/Malinois mix purchased for $11,500 from Vermilion County's Midwest Professional Canine Services and paired with dog-loving partner Sarah Links, who already has four of her own at home (left).

Well, make that five.

Between work and home, "Axel spends more time with me than anyone else does," Links says. "I have to admit that I was a little skeptical to how he and I were going to bond. I can truly say that he is my work partner and there is a bond between us that I could never have imagined would be so strong after such a short time.

"Even when I get out of the car to get gas or even for a brief moment, he is up and keeping an eye on me."

Compared to what cities and villages spent on dump trucks, street sweepers, sewer systems and other big-ticket items, Axel came cheap.

The News-Gazette sent open-records requests to 61 area towns, asking for every 2017 purchase of $5,000 or more.

Here's a sampling of what we found out:


The down payment SAVOY made in November on the newest addition to its fire department fleet (right) — a 2018 Pierce Dash CF-Puc Rescue Pumper that's due to arrive sometime this summer.

By paying that much when the contract was signed, Savoy got a $15,005 discount, making the total purchase price $680,074. It expects to recoup another $50,000 to $60,000 come summer or fall, when it sells Engine E453, the 1997 Pierce model that's being replaced.

The new model includes more safety equipment, Chief Mike Forrest says, including a black box that records vehicle speed and whether occupants were wearing seat belts.


What DANVILLE plunked down for one Caterpillar excavator plus attachments, and a skid steer with attachments, all from Champaign's Altorfer Inc. The new equipment means that city workers can do in-house building demolitions.


After an $80,000 trade-in, the cost of WATSEKA's 2017 Vac-Con sewage excavation truck, paid for with a big chunk of the $665,000 surplus in the city's water and sewer fund.


That's how much the tiny Vermilion County village of FAIRMOUNT (pop. 609) paid Hanfland Contractors for a new coat of sky-blue paint on its water tower. As far as actual purchases of $5,000-plus, Fairmount had none in 2017.



So long, potholes. URBANA'S new spray-patch truck (above) will allow a single person to smooth out streets without even leaving the cab, a far more efficient method than the cold-patch-and-shovel method Urbana has relied on in the past, says John Collins, operations manager of the city's Public Works department. Plus, he says, future fixes will last longer.


What URBANA spent on eight Fords. They range from a Focus passenger vehicle ($15,617) to an F-350 -ton pickup ($35,398), to be used by a variety of departments. The eight vehicles were purchased from five different dealerships: Bob Ridings, Landmark Ford, Morrow Brothers, Sam Pack's Five Star Ford and Wright Automotive.


For 3,557.82 tons of road salt, which is a tad more than CHAMPAIGN burns through in an average winter season. Under its contract with the state, it's required to buy no less than 3,300 and no more than 4,950 tons.

What's shaping up as a good winter for road salt manufacturers bodes well for the Kansas-based Compass Minerals, which was awarded the contract to supply cities enrolled in the Illinois Joint Purchasing Program. Also among them: URBANA, which paid $79,472.62 and started the season with 1,340 tons on hand.


What VILLA GROVE paid for two properties in flood zones. Seventy-five percent of the purchase price and demolition costs will be picked up by FEMA, through its hazard mitigation grant program.


RANTOUL takes its "shop local" mantra seriously: When it went car-shopping in June, it didn't leave the village limits, spending that much at Shields Auto Group for four vehicles — one each for the electric, sewer, water service and public works divisions.


Out in CHAMPAIGN: a 2001 bucket truck (left) that was sold at auction. In: a 2016 model that Public Works' traffic and lighting section uses to perform overhead work on Champaign-owned street lights and traffic signals, among other related activities, the city's Kris Koester says.


The cost of CHAMPAIGN's versatile new 2017 Ford F-450 dump truck, which can double as a snow plow with salt spreader.


What MONTICELLO spent at Martin Equipment for a new John Deere endloader.


What RANTOUL chipped in for new pedestrian-activated flashing beacons, radar speed detector signs, ADA-compliant sidewalks/ramps and crosswalk striping. The village and both local school districts are splitting the costs of the construction agreement with Stark Excavating for the pedestrian crossing improvements.


As of Friday, the check hadn't yet cleared the bank. But technically, the new roof Advance Roofing put on HOOPESTON's City Hall goes down as a Dec. 29. 2017, expense.


For VILLA GROVE's rebuilt sludge-hauling truck, a 1999 Sterling 4x2 model.

$70,000 to $80,000

The price range of the largest purchase of 2017 in two small towns. ATWOOD (pop. 1,185) spent $77,217 on a new backhoe. SIDNEY (pop. 1,213) invested $70,000 in upgrading its water meter system.


For CHAMPAIGN's disaster-recovery software program. It covers licenses, maintenance and support for "virtual replication software needed to maintain a disaster recovery site for the city's entire virtualized network infrastructure," says Jeff Hamilton, who worked in Champaign's IT department before becoming the city's communications manager. "This was an enhancement to the city's off-site computer data backup plan and added to the resiliency of our computer network in the event our primary data center becomes unavailable."


CLINTON's second-priciest purchase, behind a $188,961 street sweeper: construction of a new salt storage building, for $57,520.


For URBANA's new easement machine, used for cleaning sewers that cannot be reached by the big trucks from the street.


The slots paid off in OAKWOOD, which used $53,255.92 of video-gambling revenue to give the popular playground at the town park a total makeover. Among the donors that covered the rest of the costs: Don and Deanna Witzel, the local AMBUCS, Vermilion Advantage and Ronald McDonald House Charities.


What MAHOMET paid for a 2016 Caterpillar Skid Steer Loader with broom attachment for its transportation department.


The blasted emerald ash borer has claimed 1,500 trees in RANTOUL alone, public works Director Greg Hazel says. The village's new stump cutter, which replaced a 27-year-old model, will save time and money to remove the dead trees.


For TOLONO's new mini-excavator, purchased in town at Martin Equipment, and used for water, sewer and storm drainage work and repair.


For a 2017 Ford F-250 utility bed and a Boss V snowplow — the lone big purchase made by GIBSON CITY last year.


TILTON's big buy — a $377,000 fire truck — is happening this month. In 2017, its only purchase of $5,000-plus was a new Ford Interceptor squad car, from Landmark Ford.

$33,000 to $42,500

The going rate range for a reliable 2017 truck, be it a Ram with utility bed ($42,463/LeROY); Chevy Silverado ($39,047.45/MAHOMET); Chevy Tahoe ($37,160/RIDGE FARM); Ford F-350 ($36,340/TUSCOLA); Ford F-250 ($35,231.15/PESOTUM); or Ford F-150 Supercrew ($33,645/ROSSVILLE).


What ATWOOD spent on new water meters for all village residents. It was a good year for anyone in the meter business — HOMER, HOOPESTON, SIDNEY and TOLONO all made significant upgrades but none on the scale of what Rantoul did. It signed a $186,211 contract with HD Waterworks of Washington for the next phase of its village-wide meter replacement project.


What SAVOY spent on rescue lift bags for its fire department. Other in-case-of-emergency expenses for the village: $23,685 for turnout gear and $32,200 for a new storm siren at the entrance of Colbert Park.


For 670 recycling carts (right) in URBANA. The 65-gallon carts — used in the city's curbside U-Cycle program and usually good for two years — go to any resident who asks for one, says Urbana Recycling Coordinator Courtney Kwong. The city ordered one full load's worth from Schaefer Systems International.


The price tag on OGDEN's lone $5,000-plus purchase — a 2010 Chevy 3500 dump truck, used for everyday maintenance in the village of 807.


How much ARTHUR spent for new portable police radios.


What DANVILLE spent on sanitary sewer equipment from E.J. Equipment of Kankakee. It included a new special camera to see inside sewer lines and a replacement generator that runs equipment on the camera truck.


For two room renovations in CHAMPAIGN. Neverman Floor Artisans got $9,797.40 of this for selling and installing long-overdue new carpet in the police records room. The other $16,350 went to Danville-based Dreamworks Property and Construction, which handled the remodel of the part of the City Building used by Public Works' finance section. It involved transforming three small rooms into one larger room — big enough to accommodate five staff members — and adding energy-efficient lighting and ventilation.


TUSCOLA goes all out for its Sparks in the Park post-July 4 celebration, spending this much on fireworks at Jamaica Pyrotechnics of Fairmount.


What RANTOUL spent on chlorine in bulk for the Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center.


For the new-and-improved backstop at TUSCOLA's city-owned softball diamond.


It's been a lot comfier at PAXTON's city hall since Dogtown Heating and Air new installed new furnaces and A/C units — $9,690 for the first floor in July, $8,520 for the second floor in November.


From Stocks Office Furniture of Champaign, for TOLONO's spiffy new police station: 35 chairs, two large and three small workstations with hutches and six classroom-style tables, paid for with tax increment finance district funds.


Bought at Broadlands' Deni's Door Service: Ten new overhead-door operators for CHAMPAIGN's Fire Station 1. Among the features: safety "eyes" to prevent accidents and red/green lights to indicate that the door was raised high enough to clear equipment.


Champaign's Midwest Construction Rentals came in with the lowest of three bids, making it a match for the new message board (right) you'll see in downtown MAHOMET, alerting motorists to road closings and projects.

$12,600 to $14,000

Among the purchases in this price range: fireworks for OAKWOOD's Forth of July show ($13,000); a backup generator for LUDLOW's water plant ($13,800); a new roof for FARMER CITY's South Park pavilion ($13,243); an RTV to maintain village property in CERRO GORDO ($13,630); and a sewer vac used to clean out GEORGETOWN's gutters ($12,630.91).


CISSNA PARK's insurance company picked up the tab on replacement steel for the roof at Village Hall, damaged by hail last April.


Insurance also covered the cost of two new light poles damaged in vehicle accidents in DANVILLE — one at Jackson and Main streets, the other on Vermilion Street.


For BEMENT police: a new heating and air system for the police building ($5,767, from Bratcher & Co.) and computer for squad car ($6,127, from CDS Office Technologies).

$11,500 to $11,800

The price range for ROSSVILLE's new boring machine ($11,770.63), MONTICELLO's John Deere X39 mower ($11,690) and two camera systems for PAXTON squad cars ($11,554).


Four leaking windows on the fifth and sixth floors of the City Building — home of CHAMPAIGN's legal department — led to this expense. The cost included new large windows, carpentry and labor.


When its usual distributor lost its state license — with PAXTON's $11,278.72 payment already in hand — the city turned to Jamaica Pyrotechnics to fill an 11th-hour order. It did, and Paxton eventually got its money back from Halfton Pyrotechnics.


For PAXTON's 2003 GMC bucket truck, bought at Eastern Illinois Electric.


The cost of miscellaneous ammunition for URBANA police. Urbana's High Caliber Training Center & Indoor Range filled this order, which included a variety of calibers of practice ammo.


After 10 years, URBANA was due for a new paint sprayer, used for painting traffic markings such as stop bars at intersections, crosswalks and parking spaces, among other symbols.


For four Safeware ballistic-resistant tactical shields (plus accessories) to provide more protection for CHAMPAIGN police officers during high-risk situations.

$8,000 to $10,000

The price range of GIFFORD's most expensive purchase of 2017 (a $10,000 used generator for the wastewater treatment plant); CISSNA PARK's new mosquito fogger ($9,900); FISHER's fireworks ($9,500); and CHAMPAIGN fire's thermal imaging camera.


Not only did DANVILLE legend BoBo Smalls get remodeled basketball courts named in his honor at Garfield Park, (left), the city also threw in a new scoreboard, spending this much at Daktronics. Also springing for a new scoreboard: BEMENT, which spent $6,000 for one at the village's ball diamond.


What the city of CLINTON paid the local school district for the land where the former Webster School, demolished in 2015, once sat.


For one .308 long-range sniper rifle, purchased for URBANA police at Mile High Shooting Accessories.


DANVILLE's order for 250 new traffic control cones from Custom Products Corp. of Jackson, Miss.


What nine Armor Express ballistic police vests ran URBANA at Ray O'Herron Co. of Danville.

$5,000 to $6,500

The price range of a used Chevy Silverado PIPER CITY bought for picking up tree limbs and trash ($6,500); security cameras for RIDGE FARM ($6,195); new Amish Country Heirlooms tables for ARTHUR's village board room; TUSCOLA's new snowflake light-pole decorations ($5,323.35); and a 4-foot-high, 120-feet-long fence outside PAXTON's Carnegie Library.


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whatithink wrote on January 14, 2018 at 8:01 am

St. Joseph doesn't want the citizens to know where they spend all the taxpayers money.  They like to keep the public uniformed about anything going on, that way they can make decisions without anyone questioning their terrible decision making.  Also, a great way to hide questionably legal decisions and cover them up.