Friday, April 17, 2009
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City: Roof for City Hall doesn't fit into the budget

Department head pay raises revoted

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[April 17, 2009]  For several weeks, finance chairwoman Melody Anderson, city treasurer Les Plotner and others have given a great deal of their time to trying to work out a budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year. In their efforts they have struggled with a means of paying for a new roof for City Hall.

InsurancePlotner spoke to the council at length Tuesday night, describing a plan that would get the new roof done this summer, but not without some sacrifices in other areas of the budget.

The total amount needed for the roof is $167,590 plus a 10 percent contingency for unforeseen repairs that may be needed once the old roof is torn off.

Currently the city has $28,758 from the insurance company for the claim on the roof, and a check in that amount needs to be written to the contactor before the end of April.


Plotner says that the city could borrow $150,000 over the next four years and have an annual payback amount of $41,300. That amount would be raised through budget cuts in other line items.

He suggested cutting $10,000 out of the building and grounds repairs and maintenance budget, reducing GIS development from $15,000 to $5,000, reducing the fire department's fire station planning funds from $15,000 to $5,000, and eliminating the proposed $10,000 for citywide cleanup.

Plotner said that the city could consider an alternate revenue bond for the amount of the roof. He explained that the disadvantages of this plan would include a higher interest rate; there are costs involved in issuing the bond; and it carries a 125 percent coverage requirement on the payback amount. The advantages of this funding are that it does offer a backup tax levy, and it is not subject to debt limit.

Finally, he said that the council could hope that revenues increased enough to cover the debt, but he offered some statistics that seemed to indicate they would not.

Since October of 2008, revenues from sales-use tax have dropped 3 percent, or $27,225. The Illinois Municipal League is projecting an overall decrease in 2009 of 4.6 percent and a decrease in the corporate replacement tax of 13.7 percent in the year 2010. Telecommunications tax revenue is down this year approximately $30,000, or 9 percent. And his final concern, the consumer price index for the 2009-10 year was at 4.1 percent, but for the next levy year it is going to be only 0.1 percent. That index is used to figure property tax increases, and based on 0.1 percent, the tax levy increase for the 2010 year would come to less than $1,500 total.

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Department head pay raises revoted

A vote last week on city department head pay increases was scrapped immediately following the meeting, when an error was discovered in calculating the raises. A special adjourned meeting was held prior to this week's Tuesday evening workshop to fix the problem.

Anderson explained that it was discovered that in some cases the salaries would have exceeded appropriations. The city is not allowed to spend over appropriations.

The council went into executive session and when they returned, motioned for department heads to get a 2.5 percent raise for this fiscal year, 2008-09, with the exception of fire chief, deputy police chief and city attorney, which are either under contract or so that the raise would not exceed the appropriation amount.

The council approved the raises in a vote of 9-0, with Alderman Buzz Busby being absent due to illness.



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