Proactively Addressing Budget Challenges

City of Champaign Remains Proactive Addressing Budget Challenges

Top Priority: Fiscal Sustainability to Continue High Quality Services

  • Media Briefing Planned for 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10 in the City Council Chambers

Champaign City Manager Steve Carter and Finance Director Richard Schnuer will hold a media briefing to present the City’s proposed budget for FY 2011/12. The briefing will be held Tuesday, May 10, at 4:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers (1st Floor of the City Building at 102 North Neil Street, Champaign). The regularly scheduled Council Study Session will be held that evening, May 10 at 7:00 p.m., 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 of Champaign Council adopts a balanced budget every year and follows sound financial practices to ensure continuation of high quality services. Due to challenging economic conditions, Council has adopted close to $13.7 million in budget balancing measures in recent years, primarily expenditure reductions. While the administrative and public works departments bore the brunt of initial reductions, the extent of the economic recession required reductions in all City services. Since FY2008/09 the City has eliminated or not funded positions equivalent to 41.62 full-time employees. According to Finance Director Richard Schnuer, “Conservative fiscal policies, careful planning, and a willingness to make tough but necessary decisions have served the City well. Reducing positions and services has been difficult for the City Council as well as staff, but we are now at a point where we can balance the budget without additional major reductions.” The City’s top priority has been to develop a budget that will sustain our high quality services well into the future.

In an effort to balance the budget for FY 2011/12, staff focused on established guiding principles: 1) set goals to continue to provide high quality service; 2) maintain the City’s sound fiscal position with a sustainable level of expenditures and adequate reserves; 3) take a long-term focus; 4) invest in the future where appropriate; and 5) offset the cost of any budget additions.

The Proposed Budget for FY 2011/12 anticipates minimal growth in revenues and requires further tightening of expenditures. The City Council and Staff believe that the public expects belt-tightening ; therefore, the budget-balancing strategy consists of a combination of expenditure reductions and reallocation of resources. These actions, while not easy to take, will have less impact than the reductions enacted over recent years. The proposed budget includes no new revenue proposals but includes over $3.5 million in other measures as follows:

  • General Fund Expenditure Reductions: $773,680 in expenditure reductions from all City departments. These include reducing, eliminating and freezing positions and reducing expenditures across all departments, but with no reductions in police or fire emergency responders and no proposed layoffs.
  • Resource Reallocation:
    • $750,000 one-time use of the Library Improvement Fund to pay a larger portion of the Debt Service on the Main Library Building
    • $783,000 one-time transfer from the Capital Equipment Replacement Fund to the General Fund
    • $250,000 one-time transfer from the Vehicle Replacement Fund to the General Fund.
    • $250,000 one-time transfer from the Urban Renewal Fund to the General Fund.
    • Reallocation of $250,000 from the City Facility Reserve in the General Fund to the unreserved General Fund balance to make it available for future contingencies.
    • Transfer of $467,000 Technology Reserve from General Fund to Capital Equipment Replacement Fund.

A copy of the complete proposed budget document will be available for review on May 10th 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