Urbana City Council addresses construction, department budgets

The Urbana City Council discussed budgetary and property improvement issues at their meeting Tuesday night.

In a public hearing before the Meeting of the Whole, the council discussed the construction of a new Casey’s General Store in northeast Urbana. Residents of the neighborhood raised opposition, citing noise issues as well as the availability of land in locations way from houses, especially near the Aldi and Wal-Mart stores at the intersection of University Avenue and High Cross Road.

The council also discussed a plan to reconstruct Green Street in between Vine Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. The council moved to approve the plan.

Various city departments — police, fire, public works and community development services — then presented their budgets for review.

Police Chief Michael Bily presented the police department budget, which was intended to minimize additional spending in the upcoming year, he said.

“We have no new programs … and no new personnel,” Bily said.

The Fire Department also aimed to keep costs in line for the upcoming year, chief Michael Dilley said. However, the department has several projects it would like to work on when additional funds become available.

Dilley would like to add a full-time position in the Prevention Education Division, which works to educate citizens about fire safety. The department also wants to being looking into possible locations for new fire stations, especially on the developing east side, as soon as adequate funds become available.

The Public Works Department also worked to hold spending to a minimum, director Bill Gray said, but has been affected by price increases for salt, concrete and asphalt, he said. Salt, for example, will cost an additional $25,000 this year, Gray said.

Despite budget constraints, the public works department looks to being work on several street reconstruction projects in the upcoming year. Along with the Green Street project, Goodwin Avenue on campus and Windsor Avenue in south Urbana will be reconstructed.

The Community Development Department has worked creatively with its funds to make it through this year and plan for the next, director Elizabeth Tyler said.

“We’ve held the line on the budget,” she said, “but there has been some tweaking.”