Fewer flowers for Geneva if city doesn't help water them?
Will the flowers in downtown Geneva be as plentiful and pretty this year?
Maybe not, according to Dorothy Flanagan, a former alderman and co-chairman of the Geneva Beautification Committee.
City workers won't help water the beds that don't have irrigation systems. Without that aid, Flanagan told the city council this week, she will likely recommend to the gardening volunteers they don't plant anything in nonirrigated beds.
"I feel that the assets of our flowers would be in dire straits. They would die," Flanagan said.
Aldermen decided not to hire seasonal workers for the streets and sidewalks division in the budget they adopted Monday night. The workers watered about half the beds. Their other tasks included setup and cleanup for special events, trimming and cutting down trees, mowing grass, patching roads, and fixing and replacing sidewalks. The workers often filled in for regular workers on vacation.
The seasonal help typically cost the city about $13,000, according to city Administrator Stephanie Dawkins.
That will likely mean getting a pothole patched will take longer and the grass will grow a little taller, Mayor Kevin Burns said.
Volunteers handle more than 40 beds and planters. The committee won a Governor's Hometown Award in 2007 for its work.
About half have irrigation systems, but some are broken, public works director Rich Babica said. Burns noted that boxes on the State Street bridge draw water from the Fox River.
The committee gets to spend $12,900 in the new budget. Administrators project it will receive $5,350 in donations. The rest of the money will come from the committee's reserves, estimated currently at $43,544.
The city used to give $5,000 a year to the committee.
For the fiscal year that ends April 30, the committee is expected to spend $9,890, mostly on plants. It changes the plantings three times a year.
Burns disagrees with Flanagan. He said he has sponsored spots and watered them himself by asking nearby homeowners if he could get water from their spigots.
"I remember watering those things myself," Alderman Craig Maladra said. "We're going to have to cut things, and every time we cut things somebody squawks."