City of Champaign Proposes Balanced Budget for Fiscal Year 2013/14

As Economy Shows Signs of Recovery, City Builds Toward a Sustainable Future

Media Briefing Planned for 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6 in the City Council Chambers

Champaign City Manager Dorothy Ann David and Finance Director Richard Schnuer will hold a media briefing to present the City’s proposed budget for FY 2013/14 on Tuesday, May 7, at 4:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers (1st Floor of the City Building at 102 North Neil Street, Champaign). A Council Study Session will be held that evening, following the Regular Council Meeting, when City staff will make a formal presentation of the proposed budget to the City Council. The City Manager and Finance Director will respond to questions from the press at the 4:00 p.m. briefing.

The City Administration has prepared a budget proposal that preserves critical services with an emphasis on maintaining current recurring service levels; it is balanced, and it meets the City’s financial policies. The City Council has adopted close to $18 million in proactive budget balancing measures since FY 2008/09, most of which have been expenditure reductions. City Manager David stated “The City Council’s willingness to make tough choices over the past few years has put the City on solid financial footing. Our City is in a strong position to maintain its core services and consider important investments for our future.”

The Proposed Budget for FY 2013/14 anticipates slow growth in revenues. According to Finance Director Schnuer, “Many signs show the economy recovering at the local, state, and national levels. Most City revenues are growing steadily although modestly. Careful fiscal planning and strategic budget balancing measures have served the City well. While past years’ service reductions have been difficult, we are now at a point where we can recommend a balanced budget that maintains quality services with available revenues.”

During the current fiscal year the City realized greater increases in one-time revenue receipts than anticipated. In addition, actions taken by the City to reduce one-time costs resulted in greater savings than expected. Because of this, the proposed budget recommends one-time funding for a number of supplemental budget requests to address priority needs including additional investments in public safety, efficiency and effectiveness initiatives, and Council Goal priorities. It has been the practice of the City to allocate available General Fund balance to priority one-time needs only, as these funds are not likely to be available in future years to maintain recurring service levels.

The Champaign Council adopts a balanced budget every year and follows sound financial practices to ensure continuation of high quality services. The City also has a number of conservative financial policies that served as safeguards against drastic, emergency cuts required by some cities when revenues fell short of projections. These policies include budgeting recurring expenditures at 98.5% of recurring revenues, and budgeting an unassigned General Fund balance at a minimum of 10% of operating expenditures. The FY 2013/14 budget includes an unassigned fund balance of 10% or $4.6 million, which represents about one month’s General Fund expenditures. Also, included are fund balances of $899,835 committed to the 27th pay date and $349,270 committed to City facilities.

A copy of the complete proposed budget document will be available for review on May 8th at the Finance Department (2nd floor of the City Building) during normal business hours (Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.), at the reception desk at the Champaign Public Library, and will be posted on the City’s website at http://ci.champaign.il.us/departments/finance/budget-division/