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DeKalb aldermen consider $79M budget

DeKalb mayor concerned with proposed general fund for fiscal 2015

DeKALB – DeKalb aldermen will hold their first discussion about next year’s $79 million budget during their committee of the whole meeting today.

The proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 calls for the city to spend $79.2 million from July 1 to June 30, 2015. Out of its general fund, the city is expected to spend $35.2 million, a 3.6 percent increase over the current fiscal year’s estimated expenditures.

General fund revenues are projected to be $34.6 million for fiscal 2015, a 1.2 percent increase compared to estimates for the current fiscal year.

Mayor John Rey said some of his concerns with this year’s budget stem from the general fund and the city’s focus to have reserves equal 25 percent of expenditures.

Based on projections, the general fund balance at the end of next fiscal year will be about $5.2 million, around 15 percent of expenditures and $600,000 less than what the fund balance is projected to be at the end of the current fiscal year.

In her budget memo, City Manager Anne Marie Gaura listed several strains on the city’s general fund, including its use to support other funds, pension costs and debt.

The general fund also pays for city personnel, an area that will see several changes if alderman follow recommendations from Gaura to restructure departments, add several positions, cut others and examining the city’s use of contractual services.

Rey said aldermen have been anticipating the changes.

“I think we need to be very judicious with organizational changes so they’re in the spirit of efficiency and effectiveness,” Rey said.

According to her budget memo, Gaura would like to add a management analyst position to her office. The management analyst would develop and administer an employee wellness program and lead the city’s efforts on an image building and promotion campaign, among other tasks.

The management analyst would be funded by ending the city’s contract with a lobbyist.

Gaura also suggested creating a community development department by moving some personnel from public works, creating a community development director position and no longer contracting out economic development.

Alderman also will look into contracting out code and building inspection and adding two part-time property maintenance inspectors.

Both of the city’s building inspectors and its building supervisor have been placed on paid leave as city officials consider the future of the department.

“I’m not making that pre-judgment,” Rey said regarding employing versus outsourcing the positions.

Gaura also recommended adding a part-time clerk to the police department to handle Freedom of Information Act requests. The position will be funded with anti-crime revenue. Adding a self-supporting part-time administrative associate to the fire department to collect fire service and ambulance fees also is included in the budget.

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