Proposed City Budget Includes Cuts | WGLT

Proposed City Budget Includes Cuts

Feb 28, 2017

File photo of Aldermen Amelia Buragas, left, and Joni Painter.
Credit Michael Hill / WGLT

The city of Bloomington budget may increase by about three percent, but the increase comes with some cuts.  Council got a first look at the 600 page budget totaling $213.8 million during their meeting Monday evening. 

"This proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 actually includes $2.7 million in departmental cuts," said Ward 4 Alderman Amelia Buragas.

"Those are things that only the department heads could have looked at because they know their departments best and they can look at that and say 'where can we economize?'"

While it could be characterized as a first draft, Buragas said during Sound Ideas it reflects many months of work by the city's finance department with outreach to council to develop priorities and conversations with department heads on service expansions and cuts. 

Cuts include $171,660 in seasonal salaries, $173,000 in overtime, and five digit cuts in building maintenance and repair, advertising, professional development, and other areas. 

"Overall, the budget grows at three percent. But the reason the budget is growing is that we're spending more because we've saved money for some large infrastructure projects," said Buragas. "This particular budget includes $24 million for infrastructure budgets in the next fiscal year."

However, she said the general fund is increasing only .61 percent -- which is below the rate of inflation. Buragas said the small growth in the general fund reflects the effort by staff and council to control costs.  

The five-year capital improvement plan (CIP) is helping to inform her decisions regarding the budget. She said the CIP will help council and staff achieve infrastructure and public improvement goals as well being able to reliably develop a sustainable and balanced budget year to year.

Council will receive a comprehensive overview of the CIP on March 20 and Buragas said council have a full day budget work session before May 1, the deadline for council to vote on and approve the 2018 budget. 

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.