Champaign City Council passes new budget, makes cuts

In the midst of declining city revenues, Champaign city council was forced to make more than $6 million in cuts in order to balance the budget and sustain the city. A budget of $114 million passed Tuesday night for the fiscal year 2009/2010 which begins July 1.

In the midst of declining city revenues, Champaign city council was forced to make more than $6 million in cuts in order to balance the budget and sustain the city. A budget of $114 million passed Tuesday night for the fiscal year 2009/2010 which begins July 1.

Approximately $2.5 million was made in spending cuts. The majority of those cuts will come from leaving vacant city positions unfilled.

“We’ve cut over 20 positions and virtually every department was impacted by the reduction,” said Steven Carter, city manager.

Although the vacant positions include the police and fire departments, Champaign will maintain its city services, Carter said.

“We’ve made reductions that keep our core services intact,” he said. “We’ll be there in all emergency situations.”

Other areas where the budget was cut include $2.8 million in spending relocations and an increase of $1 million in city fees.

The budget also still includes $33 million in capital improvements for the Curtis Road project and East University Ave streetscape project, among others.

According to the Champaign Finance Department, the economy has slowed down nationally, specifically for Champaign a decrease in sales tax, state shared revenue, motor fuel tax, and income tax contributed to the gap.

“We’re trying to maintain services while cutting $6 million out of the budget,” Carter added.

Although the city is trying to maintain its projects while cutting a significant portion of funds, council members voiced concerns that some projects were not properly funded. Despite this, the budget passed 8-0.

“It would be contrary to the interests of the city to not support the budget over small issues,” said Tom Bruno, council member.

Mayor Jerry Schweighart said, the budget is balanced and will the insure the future security of Champaign.