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DeKalb City Council to vote on budget

DeKALB – The DeKalb City Council is expected to vote today on a number of tweaks to the city’s $77.4 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, but it might not be approved until later this month.

Among the expenses that could be added are $50,000 for a new comprehensive plan, $25,000 for a city code enforcement vehicle, and increasing the fire department’s training budget by $15,000.

First Ward Alderman David Jacobson was one of those who pushed for funding a comprehensive plan. The last such plan was adopted in 2004, during what Jacobson noted were very different economic times.

“In terms of what we’re spending and the issues we’re focusing on ... they all lead back to the direction the city is going in,” Jacobson said.

City Manager Mark Biernacki said that he does not expect the budget to be fully approved because two or three members of the eight-member council will be absent.

Biernacki said he expects the budget will be approved at their June 24 meeting.

The funding for the new items – the comprehensive plan, the code enforcement vehicle, and the fire department’s increased training budget – will come out of savings the DeKalb Fire Department found in this year’s budget.

Fire Chief Eric Hicks said through a department-wide reorganziation, they were able to save $180,000. With that money, they plan to buy an ambulance, a semi-tractor and a support vehicle, and have it counted towards this year’s budget. Biernacki added that these amendments also have to be approved by the council.

If the council approves all of the changes, they will be left with $5.6 million in general fund reserves. City officials are hoping to boost their reserves so the balance is 25 percent of the general fund expenditures they will make in a given year. At $5.6 million, that percentage is 19.58 percent.

Agencies such as Moody’s Investors Service favorably review municipalities with high savings, allowing those governments to borrow at lower interest rates.

If you go

What: DeKalb City Council Meeting

When: Monday at 6 p.m.  committee of the whole meeting; 7 p.m. City Council meeting

Where: DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

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