Eight aldermen were present for the beginning of the meeting.
Alderwoman Stacy Bacon arrived partway through the morning, and
Alderman Buzz Busby was absent.
One of the changes aldermen saw
this year in how information was presented was a change in the
The documents were modified to be simpler to read and understand.
The change came through the work of Susan Gehlbach, city clerk;
Melody Anderson, who chairs the council's finance committee; and
Chuck Conzo, city treasurer.
During the course of the morning, aldermen heard from each of the
city department heads on what their budget request for the coming
year would include. Presentations were given based on holding the
line at last year's amount, and there was also a second option that
included a 2 percent increase over last year.
In the departments, some of the changes that came up included
additional manpower for the building and safety office. During his
presentation, building and safety officer John Lebegue explained he
would be losing Kathy Vinyard, as her part-time hours would be
shifted to cover more of the clerical duties of the mayor's office
as well as helping in the office of the new city administrator.
He explained that the hours she had been devoting to his office
were crucial to him being able to spend time out of the office, in
the community. He asked the board to consider allowing him to hire a
In Mayor Keith Snyder's requests for the coming year, he asked
for a slight increase in part-time salaries but otherwise held the
line on his budget, with the exception of dollars for schools and
Snyder explained that this year he is a member of the board of
directors for the Illinois Municipal League. He said IML does not
cover the cost of travel and overnight stay for the board meetings;
thus, he had added $1,000 to the line.
Snyder also noted that to date no city administrator has been
hired. He said there was no chance one would be hired before the end
of the current fiscal year. He also indicated the decision would not
be made very soon after the beginning of the new fiscal year, May 1.
Therefore, he said the budget he had put together for that office
for the new fiscal year was designed to cover only three-quarters of
Once again this year, Snyder brought up conducting a citywide
cleanup day. However, the biggest part of this news was that there
is a plan for something to happen in the near future. He said he
would go into that in greater detail at this week's workshop meeting
of the council.
Other increases to department budgets included significant
increases for fuel in the city fire, police and street departments.
Since the first of the year, gas prices have gone up significantly,
and all the departments have felt the squeeze of trying to finish
the year within what was budgeted. Next year's budgets for the three
departments include expectations that gas prices will continue to
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The city also heard from community partners at the Saturday
Mike Maniscalco presented his requests for the Lincoln & Logan
County Development Partnership. Seth Goodman and Wanda Lee Rohlfs
were there representing Main Street Lincoln, and John Sutton put in
a request from the Logan Railsplitting Association.
Jennifer Lovett of the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce
presented a request for the city to continue sponsorship of the
special-shape balloon for the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival, and
Will D'Andrea submitted a request for support of the Logan County
Regional Planning Commission.
At the end of the day, Anderson offered a brief summary of what
the new budget year is going to look like.
Right now, wages are not solid figures in the budget, as
collective bargaining negotiations are still going on. Anderson said
she had an anticipated increase figure for those, as well as
insurance costs. She also said it was hoped the insurance figures
would be more concrete by the next meeting, at the end of the month.
At the end of the first meeting, the total projected revenues for
the new fiscal year came to $11,268,672, with total expenses for the
year adding up to $12,438,651, a difference of $1,169,979 in the
Anderson explained that infrastructure expenses of $515,000 are
designated to be paid by non-home rule tax revenues. Subtracting
that from the $1.17 million brings the deficit down to $654,979.
Next, looking at the liability for the fire and police pension
lines, she said each contains a portion that is designated as
unfunded. The total of the unfunded portions of the two pension
plans comes to $639,574. This brings the net deficit down to
Conzo also noted that while it isn't something that is considered
in the budget process, there is money in the bank. What this
represents is funds from past years when revenues actually exceeded
city expenditures. At one time there was a large sum, in excess of
$7 million, but that figure today is far less.
When the council comes back to the next budget meeting, on March
31, it is expected that there will still be some budget cuts
involved in balancing the new fiscal year, but the bottom line is it
is going to be a less stressful task this year.
[By NILA SMITH]