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A first look at DeKalb's budget for 2020

DeKALB ­– Cutting all the department heads at the beginning of 2019 did not save the city as much money as hoped, according to a first look draft of the fiscal 2020 budget.

As the city heads into budget season, the Finance Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet 5 p.m. Monday in the Executive Conference Room at the Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

The first round budget discussion will focus on general operational, capital and infrastructure needs and goals, according to city documents.

In January, then-newly appointed City Manager Bill Nicklas proposed laying off four department heads among seven positions that council approved eliminating to address a $1 million budget shortfall.

The management staffing reductions were expected to save the city $1.1 million, documents show, but the seven positions had “substantial” accrued leave that was fully paid off when the positions were eliminated. The actual savings amounted to $580,000, according to city documents.

The city also has significant infrastructure and capital needs that have not yet been addressed due to budget constraints, documents show.

Funding options the committee and council will consider include a property tax increase (fiscal 2020 proposes a 1.2% city tax rate and a $7 million tax levy), a 0.25% Home Rule Sales Tax or a local fuel tax increase.

In 2019, the city budgeted $1.7 million for road repair and resurfacing, with the majority of the funds going to the North First Street corridor, Tilton Park, Wineberry and Manning drives, and Harvey and Taylor streets.

As of January 2019, city staff determined 25 miles of DeKalb roads, mostly residential areas, needed “immediate maintenance to prevent rapid degradation,” document show. Only 2.75 miles received that maintenance, and city staff are concerned road repairs needed will again exceed the budget.

With the 19-cent increase in the state’s Motor Fuel Tax, the city expects to receive $500,000 more to budget for street maintenance.

Repair work on Twombly Road from Edens Garden to Annie Glidden Road; North Seventh Street from Lincoln Highway to Sycamore Road; North Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets; and Macom Drive is identified as priority projects if money is available, documents show.

The Finance Advisory Committee will make recommendations on the budget to the City Council, who will being their own budget discussions at a Committee of the Whole Meeting Oct. 28, documents show.

The two groups will then hold a joint budget discussion in November, with final adoption expected in December.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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