City Council to discuss 2018 budget increases totalling $18.6 million


Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson

City manager Wally Bobkiewicz. Councilmen will discuss budget amendments at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Julia Esparza, City Editor

Aldermen will discuss amendments to the 2018 budget to account for overspending and will consider changes to the city code during Monday’s Council meeting.

Budget adjustments are needed for 11 city funds whose actual expenses were higher than their budgeted amounts, according to city documents. The funds with the largest proposed adjustments are the Debt Service Fund, Crown Construction Fund and the Insurance Fund.

City staff has recommended that Council increase the Debt Service fund to $21.8 million. The $7.5 million increase is due to the refunding of a number of bonds in the city’s bond issue. This increase is offset by $7.6 million in revenue from the fund, according to city documents.

In 2018, the Crown Construction Fund had expenses over budget of $1.46 million according to city documents. Aldermen will discuss a $2.5 million increase to account for construction costs.

This modification is necessary because “the construction schedule for the project was still in progress” when the 2018 budget was created, according to city documents. The Robert Crown Center has recently attracted attention from residents who believe the cost of the development has risen too much.

“The Crown Construction Fund received $27,062,051 in revenue in 2018 to fund the project, primarily through the 2018A bond issue,” according to city documents. “These bonds will continue to be spent down as the project continues in 2019.”

The amendment also calls for a$4.7 million increase to the Insurance Fund. This increase is necessitated by $4 million dollars spent on legal services and higher-than-budgeted spending on health insurance premiums.

Aldermen will discuss the total budget amendment of $18.6 million during Monday’s meeting.

Aldermen to discuss trash collection ordinance

A proposed ordinance would modify the language of the City Code to “make it clear that property owners are responsible to clear snow and ice around trash receptacles so that the trash can be properly and safely collected,” according to city documents.

Council members first considered these changes to the code at a Feb. 18 Council meeting. City staff proposed these language clarifications following this winter’s storms — including the polar vortex — and acknowledged the “challenges and operational issues impacting trash collections,” during these extreme weather conditions.

“Last winter many businesses did not clear snow around their trash receptacles making it
impossible for the trash to be collected,” city documents read. “As a result, there were numerous sites where trash was overflowing the receptacles causing a potential health issue.”

These modifications are meant to “improve the safety for the general public and improve services,” according to city documents.

Council will consider these and other policies during Monday’s meeting.

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Twitter: @juliaesparza10

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