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Sycamore City Council presents balanced budget

SYCAMORE – Positive economic trends could help bolster Sycamore’s budget next fiscal year, although city officials note that they can not make up all of the city's revenue mix in the future.

Based on the previous year’s trends, Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory told council members Tuesday that state sales taxes could be the greatest source of revenue for the 2014 fiscal year, with the local restaurant and bar tax also continuing to grow.

Gregory commented that the restaurant and bar tax seemed to be “recession-proof,” as many people have continued to dine out regardless of the economic downturn over the past few years.

The total estimated revenues for fiscal 2014 sit at around $13.8 million, with almost 48 percent of the revenue coming from sales and use taxes.

Although the council recently voted to freeze the property tax level for the fourth consecutive year, Gregory pointed out that property taxes make up 12.7 percent of the city’s revenue. He advised the council to maintain a levy that continues to bring in this amount in the future so the city doesn’t need to rely on less predictable revenue sources such as sales tax.

Gregory stressed that the city is not proposing any new taxes for this year, and any conversations about future property tax levies were months away.

While addressing the budget’s expenditures, Gregory believes they are “going in the right direction.”

The estimated operating expenditures for the 2014 fiscal year amount to $13.8 million, which ultimately results in a balanced preliminary budget.

Gregory attributed the balanced budget to careful spending.

“We’re working within our means,” he said.

Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy commented that he is in agreement with the budget.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that the projections we’ve placed will come in at the expected levels,” he said. “We’re looking forward to some of those things coming to fruition.”

Note to readers: This story was changed from its original version to clarify that there are no new taxes proposed by the City of Sycamore this year.

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