The 2015 budget approved Monday by the Decatur City Council represents a 12-month financial roadmap for the city buoyed by a recent economic upswing yet constrained by the reality of revenue challenges that hamper the city’s ability to fund a number of critical priorities.
Council members voted 6-0 to approve both the city’s 2015 budget and 2014 property tax levy during the council’s regular meeting, marking the first time in recent history that both have been approved simultaneously following the city’s move to a calendar-year budget. Next year’s budget, at $157.6 million, represents a decrease from the 2014 Council-approved budget of $159.5 million while the tax levy will remain relatively flat as well.
The property tax levy of $11,800,000 is on par with the prior year’s levy of $11,784,000, although the city’s tax rate will not be know until the tax extension is certified by the Illinois Department of Revenue in early 2015.
Major projects included as part of the 2015 budget involve the dredging of Lake Decatur, the Lakeshore and Union Street sewer rehabilitation, completion of the downtown streetscape project, commencement of several storm water sewer rehabilitation projects and of the Brush College Road and Midwest Inland Port transportation study among other items.
The future will not be without challenges, however, including the critical need to identify funding sources to cover property demolitions and neighborhood restoration, street repair and maintenance and capital equipment replacement.