The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Urbana City Council discusses Youth Services Grant Program, budget proposals


On Monday, the Urbana City Council held a focused discussion on resolutions related to the Youth Services Grant Program as well as several budget proposals for the fiscal year of 2025.

The Youth Services Grant Program proposed sixteen resolutions to the execution of a subrecipient agreement as a part of a funding agreement. These resolutions were approved and authorized by the council for the upcoming fiscal year. 

The Youth Services Grant Program provides annual funding to local agencies to support local youth through various services. Programming areas include after school educational programs, recreational activities, violence prevention, and mental health and counseling services. 

The motion to authorize the resolutions and send them to the City Council’s agenda for further deliberation was approved. 

Celeste Choate, executive director of the Urbana Free Library, and Rachel Fuller, associate director of the Urbana Free Library, presented special projects to the council which are pending approval for further funding.

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These special library projects include a continuation of capital expenses, which allow the library to maintain and improve its assets, as well as a request for new capital expenses, including updated landscaping and first floor renovations.

Fire Chief Kent Dade presented a budget request as well. This budget proposal outlines the financial requirements necessary to maintain and enhance the operational capabilities of the Urbana Fire Department

The proposal requests $546,000 in total funding to support critical initiatives aimed at retaining trained personnel and strengthening fire training programs. The proposal follows a substantial increase in cost of service across the last four fiscal years, leading to the average annual cost of service being $107,000. 

The budget proposals include the continuation of the SAFER grant and a supplement training budget, both of which Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin approved. 

These proposals allow the fire department to support mayor and council goals in the expansion and reinforcement of public safety and community well-being.

“The proposed increase to UFD’s budget is crucial to sustaining the operational readiness and professional development of our fire department,” Dade said. “By investing in personnel retention and training, we aim to fortify our capabilities and continue providing high-quality emergency response services to this community.”

Following this discussion, Thomas Webb, Urbana’s IT Manager, proposed budget changes towards IT for the coming fiscal year. These changes included funding for software upgrades and a new IT staff position. 

Additionally, Kyle Kapper, interim Financial Analyst for Urbana, proposed changes to the Vehicle and Equipment Replacement Fund, which provides funding for city vehicles and equipment to be replaced when necessary; the fund is not intended for upgrades or improvements. 

“New vehicle prices have increased almost 20% from January ‘21 to January ‘24,” Kapper said. “What this means is we have budgeted the replacement costs for the existing equipment and vehicles using standard inflation, and the prices to actually replace those assets is going to be far greater— that’s creating a budget gap.”

Kapper proposed to increase recurring contributions for all VERF assets by 15.5% and add a catch-up adjustment to keep all assets on-schedule for replacement. He included that replacement costs should continue to be monitored to maintain sufficient funding for asset replacements and sustained operations. 

Also, a proposal which requests funding for one additional housing and code inspector as part of the Rental Registration Program was brought to the council. 

Urbana Police Department Chief Larry Boone proposed an increase in budget allocation due to the request of additional officers based on the consulting firm BerryDunn’s recommendation to add staff, which analyzed the UPD’s workload.

“Per BerryDunn, UPD requires 22% more staffing to address the current call load volume,” Boone said. 

The budget is also focusing on a re-commitment to modified hiring incentives for police officers, targeting both new and experienced hires. Additionally, Boone requested funding for a response model in the form of a community engagement team within the Urbana Police Department. 

The City Council meeting concluded with further discussion on ward maps and budgets. 


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Reyanna Paul
Reyanna Paul, Senior News Reporter
Hi, I’m Reyanna! I’m a freshman majoring in bioengineering on the pre-med track. I joined The Daily Illini in the fall semester as a staff writer and I’m currently Senior News Reporter. I’m excited to see all the great content the news staff will be putting out!
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