Administration Proposes Balanced Budget, Continuing Delivery of High Quality, Essential Services
The City Administration is pleased to present a balanced budget that builds upon the City of Champaign’s long history of fiscal discipline. The budget allows for the continued delivery of essential City services, embraces growth, and preserves our vibrant community. The City’s AAA bond rating evidences Champaign’s fiscal strength and provides the solid foundation on which the proposed budget is built. This strong foundation ensures continuation of the high quality City services our citizens have come to expect.
The Champaign community is proud to be experiencing an explosion of new commercial and multi-family residential development. Calendar year 2014 was the second highest on record for construction activity in Champaign, and the strong pace of new development shows few signs of slowing down. New construction and developments add to the diverse and vibrant quality of life within our City, making Champaign a destination for new residents, businesses, and visitors. In addition, new growth helps bolster the City’s revenue base, ensuring future funding for essential City services and community needs. The City’s major revenue streams have rebounded from the recession and continue to grow modestly. Recurring sales tax revenue has averaged an increase of 2.5% over the last four years, and hotel/motel revenue is projected to increase 5.0% over last year.
The City embraces and values a strong partnership with our community. The proposed budget continues critical investments in community building, infrastructure improvements, neighborhood revitalization, and neighborhood-based economic development. Initiatives such as the Champaign County Community Coalition and Bristol Park Neighborhood Redevelopment help to transform our future and reinvigorate our community with an infusion of new housing and park space. In addition, the initiatives also improve public safety, transportation, and the health and well-being of our residents. Thanks to proactive planning and sound fiscal management in the past, the City has the resources needed to continue investing in Champaign’s future.
The Champaign City Council adopts a balanced budget each year. The City has adopted a number of conservative financial policies, which ensure the continuation of essential City services and safeguard the City against the need to make drastic, emergency cuts. City policies include budgeting recurring expenditures 1.5% below recurring revenues, and maintaining an unassigned General Fund reserve of at least 10% of operating expenditures. The proposed budget includes an unassigned fund balance of 11.2% ($5.6 million), which represents about one month’s General Fund expenditures. This reserve allows the City time to react thoughtfully to unexpected financial needs, including possible State cuts to City revenues. The proposed budget also includes infrastructure improvements amounting $40.3 million for FY 2015/16, and additional projects in later years of a proposed 10-year Capital Improvements Plan.
A copy of the proposed budget will be available for public review starting May 6th on the City’s website (ci.champaign.il.us/budget), in the City’s Finance Department (2nd floor of the City Building) and at the Reception Desk of the Champaign Public Library during the normal business hours of these facilities.