Freshman girls end season with most wins in program history Page 11 Gas vapors shut down BP station for 29 hours Wednesday February 28, 2018 Vol. 3, No. 45 $1.00 O'Fallon Police jump into icy cold lake for Special Olympics Team rasies more than $10,000 for the Law Enforcement Torch Run Members of the O'Fallon Fire Department were assigned to watch over the BP station at the intersection of Highway 50 and Lincoln after the smell of gas was reported inside of the building Saturday morning. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Zoe Hall) By Martha Stoffel Weekly Reporter O’FALLON - The O’Fallon Fire Department responded early Saturday morning to a report of the smell of some type of gas in the building at the BP gas station, located at the corner of Highway 50 and Lincoln. Fire personnel arrived and worked with officials from Ameren and the Illinois State Fire Marshal, Division of Petroleum and Chemi- cal Safety, to determine the possible source. Gasoline vapors in the electrical conduit were determined to be the source of the gas smell. After making modifications to the conduit, Fire Department of- ficials cleared the store to be reopened. According to O’Fallon Fire Chief Brent Saunders, the O’Fallon Fire Department was on location from approximately 6 a.m. Saturday morning until 11 a.m. Sunday morning. BP will be responsible for conducting various types of testing to verify the source and continue necessary mitigation to eliminate any- thing of a potentially hazardous nature. The Division of Petroleum and Chemical Safety regulates the underground storage tanks and will continue to monitor the gas station. Members of the O'Fallon Police Department and local residents who supported the team run into the cold water of Carlyle Lake on Saturday morning for the annual Polar Plunge. This year the team raised $10,205 for the Law Enforcement Torch Run benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. (Submitted Photo) By Nick Miller Weekly Editor CARLYLE - Temperatures only reached into the mid-50’s on Saturday, but that didn’t stop a group of men and women from the O’Fallon Police Depart- ment from jumping into Carlyle Lake for the annual Polar Plunge. This event has become one of the larg- est fundraisers for the Law Enforcement Torch Run benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The O’ Fallon PD has consis- tently been the top fundraising team each year, with 2018 as no exception. This year O’Fallon PD set their goal high, aiming to raise $10,000. By the time they had toweled off, the team had raised a total of $10,205. Their previous record high was $8,200 in 2016. Members of the department who took the plunge were: Rebecca Hudson, Joe Wagner, Nick Stewart, Diane Coppotelli, Matt Plass- man, Nick Schmidt, Neal Gough, Brian Gimpel, Kirk Brueggeman, Ben Callahan, Kerry Andrews. They were also joined by local civilians who wanted to plunge with the team. “We really want to thank everyone who donated and say that we appreciate the support and generousity of the community during events like this,” said Detective Brian Gimpel. O'Fallon City Council begins budget process during committee meeting By Martha Stoffel Weekly Reporter O'FALLON - The main topic during all of Monday’s committee meetings were explanations of Fiscal Year 2019 proposed budgets. Finance Director, Sandy Evans, gave a general budget overview to the Fi- nance & Administration Committee for the $74,453,583 proposed budget for FY19, which will start May 1, 2018. The city’s budget saw an 8.5 percent decrease from FY18. The reduction is primarily due to last year’s budget including the $9.5 million Destination O’Fallon projects. A notable change to the budget clas- sifications was the combination of the hotel/motel tax with economic develop- ment. Because the hotel/motel tax has been specified for tourism projects, city staff felt it needed to be combined with economic development. The reclassi- fication for economic development re- moved it from under the General Fund, and allows the hotel/motel tax revenue to fund economic development projects instead. The revenue from the new hotel/motel tax has been higher than original projections when the four per- cent increase was introduced. Because of this, the total estimated revenue for FY19 has been set at $2,305,000, a 54 percent increase from last year. Increases in specific budget areas in- cluded added personnel, street projects and water/sewer projects. City staff used the Council’s top five priorities from their October Committee of the Whole meeting to set the new budget. “Approximately $14.8 million is strictly allocated to the Council’s priorities,” said Sandy Evans. The Council’s priorities are public safety, economic development, streets, water/ sewer and stormwater. The Finance & Administration com- mittee presentation focused on revenue and expenses for the General Fund, Administration, IT, Capital Improve- ments, TIFs, Economic Development/ Tourism and Strategic Plan. Individual department budgets are detailed within those specific committee meetings. The City’s various debt principal was shown, totaling $56,546,749. A debt balance by department graph showed the top five debts as: hotel/ motel (37 percent), general fund (17 percent), TIF (13 percent), Prop S (8 percent) and water (7 percent). The annual debt service payment is $5,415,359, with the top three revenue sources coming from the hotel/motel tax, property taxes and sales tax. At the March 26 Finance & Admin- istration committee meeting, members will receive the full budget packet. The first reading of the FY19 budget will be at the April 2 City Council meeting. The public hearing and second reading will be at the April 16 City Council meeting.