Anna allocates additional funds for first responders

By Joshua Baethge
For the Anna-Melissa Tribune
A second ambulance was among several items included in a budget amendment passed by the Anna Council on April 13.

Better than expected revenue coupled with the demands of a rapidly growing population prompted the Anna City Council to approve a major budget amendment during its April 13 meeting.

The vote paves the way for the city to add four new police officers.  This combined with other recent additions effectively doubles the department’s size since 2018. The new officers will lay the groundwork for a narcotics unit that will be developed over the next nine to twelve months. Additional funds were allocated to purchase police gear, including new tasers, handheld radios, guns and ammunition.

Anna Fire Rescue will get a second ambulance. This will help the city move closer to its long-term goal of having its own ambulance service.  The department currently contracts with a private company and uses its own ambulance as a backup. 

As the fire department continues to transition from volunteers to full-time professionals, the need for overtime has increased.  The budget amendment passed by the council provides $100,0000 for this.

Anna City Manager Jim Proce discusses a proposed budget amendment during the April 13 Anna City Council Meeting

Money was also allocated for the purchase of three mobile generators.  They will be able to keep power running at critical infrastructure sites should the city experience another power disruption like the one that crippled Anna's water supply during February’s winter storm.

The budget amendment also creates the city’s first communications manager.  That person will utilize multiple media platforms to communicate and manage Anna’s branding and marketing efforts. The Economic Development Corporation will get an intern to assist with its work. Money was also earmarked for technology upgrades.

Funding for the budget amendment will come in part from a record-high number of building permits. Anna’s city budget projected 700 building permits for fiscal year 2021, which began in October.  That number has already been topped only halfway through the fiscal year.  The revised budget now projects 850 permits, which are expected to generate an additional $205,000 in revenue towards the general fund.  City Manager Jim Proce says the revised number is still a conservative estimate, but he did not want to get too aggressive with his projections.

Anna City Manager Jim Proce discusses a proposed budget amendment during the April 13 Anna City Council Meeting

Higher than anticipated sales tax revenue was an even bigger factor.  The amount generated so far is 32 percent higher than last year and 18 percent higher than projected in the budget.  This added another $300,000 into the general fund.