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Budget outlook better for 2013-14, council learns

Income tax, sales tax revenue up slightly over projections

STERLING – The city's fiscal picture for 2013-14 isn't as grim as last year, council members learned Monday night at their first budgeting workshop of the year.

Revenue from income tax, sales tax and the fire protection district is up, City Manager Scott Shumard said.

On the other hand, money garnered from gambling machines has been "underwhelming" so far – the city's share was just $1,029 in December, he said.

Sales tax and income tax revenue grew more than anticipated: The city budgeted for a 1.25 percent increase in both, but actually saw a 3.4 percent increase in both, Shumard said.

"That was a big change for us to the positive," he said. He couldn't explain the bump in sales tax, but said the state handed over more in income tax than expected.

Looking ahead, Shumard said removing and replacing public ash trees expected to be hit by the emerald ash borer likely will cost about $24,000. The city also is considering a 50/50 program for removing trees on private property.

The Police Department is asking for some new equipment, including two new cars for the detectives and one new computer, which will cost about $41,400, along with a new in-car video system, two Tasers, and riot helmets, rifles and a restraint chair.

In addition, a 5-year plan to replace street signs so that they comply with the new federal highway codes is estimated to cost $8,000, Shumard said.

Talks will continue; the council is expected to finalize the budget in April.

To attend

The Sterling City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the City Hall Annex, 20 W. Third St.

An agenda for the meeting will be posted online at sterling-il.gov. Call 815-632-6621 for more information.

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