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Rock Falls budget projects small surplus

Blackert makes presentation at finance meeting

ROCK FALLS – City Administrator Robbin Blackert presented a surplus budget during Tuesday’s special Finance Committee meeting.

The fiscal year 2014-15 budget projected revenue of $21,726,459 and expenses of $21,725.062, putting the city in the black by $1,397.

Last year’s budget projected slightly higher revenue and expenses, and showed a surplus of $3,705.

The budget now moves on to the council for approval at its April 1 meeting.

Blackert presented the general fund and enterprise funds portions of the budget Tuesday. She noted that the utility or enterprise funds are now the fourth-largest contributor to the general fund revenue, after sales, property and income taxes.

“We would not be able to operate as well as we do for a city our size without the income our utilities bring,” Blackert said. “This council, the mayor and I strongly believe that we need to keep our reserves built up, and the enterprise funds help us do that.”

City officials believe that playing it conservatively on income projections is key to balancing the budget, Blackert said.

“Historically, we have been especially conservative on revenue with the sewer department,” Blackert said. One of the reasons is the department has 18 years left on its EPA loan.

The streets department took a hit from the brutal winter weather. The department had budgeted about $30,000 in overtime for this year and ended up spending $57,000, department head Ted Padilla said.

“This winter was not something you could really budget for,” Padilla said.

The video gaming income is projected at $52,000 a year and pays for the lease of a new police vehicle,

The city still has $160,000 of its Single Family Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation program from last year and this year’s allocation of $240,000 to use for home improvements.

The police budget came in at about $2.2 million. Salaries were down, thanks to some retirements, but overtime cost the department $48,000 last year.

“We’re going to try to hit $40,000 this year,” Police Chief Mike Kuelper said.

The fire budget came in at just under $1.1 million. The R&M building is projected to eat up $90,000 of Chief Gary Cook’s money.

“That building is old, and we will be replacing windows and frames, fixing water damage in walls from the old roof, and doing a total rebuild of offices,” Cook said.

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