Budget projections slightly in the black

City needs more money for road work, Wise says

Caption
Jim Wise

MORRISON – City Administrator Jim Wise portrayed the city’s proposed budget as a pie chart with a smiley face walking two dogs away from rain clouds and into the sun at a budget meeting Tuesday night.

The image on the projector “shows our fiscal health,” he said.

The city is expected to receive about $800,894 in local revenue generated through property, utility and telecommunication taxes, along with about $1.1 million in state revenue. That more than $1.9 million does not include fees that the city will collect.

All told, Wise said he expects the city to have about $48,000 more in revenue than in expenses in the next fiscal year.

“The saving grace is sales tax,” he told the council. “We have to develop commercial opportunities.”

The city’s property tax revenue will stay level the next few years, so more sales tax will need to be generated, he said.

The city needs new revenue streams, particularly for stormwater projects and street repairs, he said. The city needs $7 million for street repairs that it doesn’t have, he said.

“We’re safe,” he said. “But if we really want to shoot for the stars and look at a road repair program, we have to sit down and have a conversation about doing that.”

Wise is considering allotting money in his proposed budget for the police department to hire a seventh officer so that the department may be at full force again, he said. The officer is needed for investigations, school resources and other reasons, he said.

The city also is “looking at” hiring another employee in the public works department, he said.

The city also might go digital to cut down or eliminate printing costs, he said. Wise had no estimate yet for how much money the city would save by doing so.

The council will meet March 13 at the Whiteside County Courthouse to further discuss the budget. Wise asked council members to meet with department heads and talk to city employees before then to get a better idea of why they want the things they want.

To attend

The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. March 13 at Whiteside County Courthouse, 400 N. Cherry St.

Members will discuss the fiscal year 2013-14 budget, but will not take action. The public is invited to comment before the discussion.

Go to morrisonil.org for an agenda.

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