The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 29, 2013

Budget, DHS work up for vote

Personnel, salaries large part of increase

BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — The city council has a full agenda with the new city budget, Danville High School improvements and video gaming licensing among the action items slated for Tuesday night.

Aldermen will consider approving the city’s new 2013-2014 balanced budget that will go into effect May 1.

The vote comes after months of discussion and study sessions.

The proposed $50 million budget is a 2.36 percent increase from this fiscal year’s budget.

Personnel costs and increased salaries are a large part of the increase.

There is an increase in personnel expenses of about $563,000. The increases are largely due to health insurance, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund and Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

The budget includes 2 percent salary increases for about 50 full-time non-union employees but also includes some double-digit increases.

City officials still are analyzing employee interest for a voluntary separation package to save costs in the future.

The aldermen will vote separately for Mayor Scott Eisenhauer’s proposed reorganization of city departments.

Eisenhauer initially said with his budget presentation in February that there were no proposed eliminations of any city positions.

However, Eisenhauer now says “from the original discussion, this reorganization is about structure rather than individual positions.”

Eisenhauer said until the city knows more about federal funding, such as for Community Development Block Grant and Danville Area Transportation Study funding, he “can’t say any positions won’t be eliminated.”

“It’s premature to say there aren’t any cuts in positions,” he said.

Eisenhauer said the reorganized departments are a structure that the city will operate under.

“We’re really locking in the structure. All of that is premature,” he added about specific positions.

The reorganization includes having an urban services department to oversee zoning, etc.; moving code enforcement under the public works department; solid waste workers and inspectors working together more; more of a full-time focus on geographic information system mapping for infrastructure assessment, condition reporting and tracking; and a new housing development division.

Due to better than expected revenues, $500,000 in possible city job and budget cuts weren’t needed for a balanced budget.

The proposed budget shows revenues increasing by almost 4 percent to make up for the gap in funding from the city’s property tax levy.

The budget also includes $275,000 for payment of retail incentives to Kohl’s, Ross Dress for Less, Pet Supplies Plus and This Is It Furniture.

There could be action by aldermen too, after closed session, regarding the positions of assistant city engineer and program compliance coordinator. The city has been interviewing for those positions.

Also Tuesday, the council will act on Phase 1 work of DHS campus improvements.

The Public Works Committee had voted 3-2 against the planned project. Some aldermen called the project a waste of taxpayer money.

The council was to act on the improvements a couple weeks ago, but city officials pulled the action item off the agenda.

“We wanted to be able to provide more information,” Eisenhauer said.

Some aldermen had requested information, too, he said.

Aldermen have received information on TIF projects and the successful use of TIF dollars in other communities, in addition to the amount of money used within the city’s Midtown TIF district, such as for demolitions of properties, and how school District 118 has contributed with the TIF district.

Tuesday night, aldermen will consider approving a $986,487 contract with Midwest Asphalt, the lowest of three bidders, for the DHS campus improvement project.

The council also will consider approving an intergovernmental agreement with school District 118 for the improvements.

The city received an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency grant, to spend up to $750,000 on eligible items, for the DHS campus parking lot and multi-use field improvements. It also will use about $484,000 in Midtown Tax Increment Financing funding and sanitary sewer fund money (about $35,000) on the DHS campus storm water improvements.

The reconstruction of the southern high school parking lot includes a green overflow parking area along Hazel Street that can be used as a practice field for marching band or other activities when not needed for parking.

In other business, the city council will consider:

Penalties of suspension or revocation of a license can occur, in addition to fines of $100 to $5,000 for a licensing violation.