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Preliminary budget set for Sycamore

SYCAMORE – The preliminary fiscal 2014 budget for the city of Sycamore was discussed by the Sycamore Finance Committee on Wednesday before it voted unanimously to present it to the City Council on April 1.

The balanced budget consists of nearly $62 million in spending within all the city’s funds, which is similar to last year. The budget projects $13,884,958 in general fund expenditures and $13,885,915 in revenues.   

At the start of the fiscal year May 1, the projected starting fund balance, or general fund operating reserve, will be a little more than $4 million, which is about 29 percent of the fiscal 2014 general fund expenditures.

Residents will not see any increases in taxes.

The general fund support, which encompasses expenditures for all of the city’s working departments, will see a $50,000 increase in workers’ compensation costs, but City Manager Brian Gregory said he thinks that amount can be reduced because of the strong safety precautions taken by city departments.

“We’re hoping by minimizing our accidents, we can drive that cost number down,” he said.

In addition, the general fund support increased by $15,354 in health insurance premium costs.

Gregory said the budget is similar to last year’s, but capital transfers were significantly reduced by $175,000.

“That’s probably the best news of the budget,” he said.

Gregory said this is all part of the city’s effort to reduce reliance on capital transfers while still providing high levels of service and resources throughout the city.

He said although the city creates a budget every year, it always plans for several years down the road.

The main idea behind the city’s balanced budget is to spend within its means, he said.

Committee Chairman Alan Bauer was in agreement with the rest of the council in that he didn’t feel any significant changes needed to be made to the budget.

A public hearing on the budget will take place at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting at 7 p.m. April 1. The council will be encouraged to take action on the budget at the April 15 meeting.

Those who wish to review the budget can do so at the Sycamore Public Library or online at Hard copies are also available for purchase at the city clerk’s office at the Sycamore Center, 308 W. State St. in downtown Sycamore.

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