DeKALB – The City Council is set to hold a public hearing and take first-reading on the 2019 budget at its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.
Renewed concerns about a deficit in the budget surfaced when officials said there was a deficit of about $1.8 million. At a joint meeting of the council and the Finance Advisory Committee last week, Munch said the budget deficit is smaller than originally reported, and now stands at $887,000.
The committee and council came to a general consensus to amend the balancing measures slightly, and proposed not cutting $10,000 to the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Additional considerations included not cutting the previously agreed-upon snow removal services for sidewalks in the Central Business District; implementing an amusement tax that could bring in $120,000 annually; implementing a quarter-percent increase in the restaurant, bar and packaged liquor license tax to generate an additional $250,000 in annual revenue, or implementing a quarter-percent sales tax increase.
The group also gave a positive consensus to implement a six-month hiring freeze, which would include a number of already-vacant city positions, closing the budget gap by $478,310.
City staff, committee and council members emphasized that the hold on hiring should not include certain emergency personnel positions, specifically within the police, fire and public works departments.
Updated numbers in documents posted on the city website list the city's total expected revenue for 2019 to be $97.1 million, and total expenditures to be $89.2 million. Both totals include the police and fire pension funds, as well as the DeKalb Public Library fund.
The city's general fund is expected to collect $37.9 million in revenue, with expenditures of $37 million. Through the council and FAC's budget balancing measures to date – which can also be found in the packet – the General Fund reserve balance is now $8,741,951, or 23.6 percent of the total general fund expenditures.
According to the executive summary in Monday's agenda packet, the council can still make amendments to the proposed budget prior to its passage, which is expected after a second-reading vote, scheduled for Dec. 18.
Amendments to the budget at any time after it has been passed will require a two-thirds majority vote on an official budget amendment.