Proposed Champaign Budget Doesn’t Account For Possible State Cuts

Champaign City Manager Dorothy Davis runs through the proposed 2015-16 financial plan at the city building Tuesday.

Champaign City Manager Dorothy David runs through the proposed 2015-16 financial plan at the city building Tuesday.

(Jeff Bossert/WILL)

The Champaign City Council Tuesday will see a budget plan that proposes no specific cuts that could come from losing half of its state-shared revenues, as proposed by Governor Bruce Rauner.

City Finance Director Richard Schnuer says it didn’t seem to be good use of city time to develop alternative plans - since state lawmakers have yet to agree on a budget - and the city has to adopt its plan by June 30th.

If the full cut to those state-shared funds revenues is approved, that would mean a $4-million hit to Champaign’s general fund. 

Schnuer said reserves are there to absorb that loss, and give the staff and city council time to make thoughtful decisions.

“But that reserve is just their one-time thing," he said.  "Just because we have the reserve, doesn’t mean we would not have to cut services or raise revenues.  There has to be, obviously, a long-term solution, not just – well, let’s get through the next year and cross our hands, and hope the state doesn't cut the next year."

Schuner said department heads have been asked to develop potential reductions, if the city has to pass an amended budget later – likely sometime in June.

Otherwise, Schnuer said Champaign’s revenues are growing, particularly the sales tax.  Plus, he added 2014 was the second highest year on record for construction in the city – expanding the property tax base, and ensuring funding for city services.

The theme of the 2015-2016 financial plan is "Celebrating Growth, Embracing Community." 

"It's a budget that meets our fiscal policies, so it not only fully funds the continuing of our existting high-quality services, but it also maintains reasonable reserves, so that we can adjust to thing that might be on the horizon that might be unanticpated," said Champaign City Manager Dorothy David.

After Tuesday night's overview of the budget, the city council will get a look at the proposed Champaign Public Library budget on May 12, discuss a capital improvement plan for May 19, and get a final look at the budget May 26.  Budget adoption is scheduled for June 2.

Story source: WILL