Fiscal Responsibility Today to Protect Our City’s Future
CHAMPAIGN – Today the City of Champaign released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2020/21. The FY 2020/21 proposed budget is balanced and provides the financial resources to maintain essential City services. The proposed FY2020/21 budget theme is “Fiscal Responsibility Today to Protect Our City’s Future.” City staff will make a formal presentation of the proposed budget to the City Council during a Study Session meeting on May 12, 2020. The City Council meeting will be held electronically and telecast live on CGTV and live streamed on the City’s website. The proposed budget is now available for public review on the City’s website at champaignil.gov/budget.
Since the City’s financial forecast was first presented to the City Council in October 2019, there has been a historic disruption of economic activities due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the City is anticipating significant decreases in many of its major sources of revenue.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Champaign residents, businesses, and the City has been substantial,” said City Manager Dorothy Ann David. “While the total fiscal impact of this public health crisis remains unknown, the City Administration is proactively making recommendations to the City Council regarding possible reductions to next year’s budget to account for declining revenue projections.”
The City Administration has worked quickly to identify recurring expenditure reductions in order to bring forward a balanced budget proposal in light of recent revenue declines. The FY 2020/21 proposed budget recommends $2.9 million in General Fund budget reductions for the City Council to consider, including:
- $1.28 million reduction to the transfer from the General Fund to the Capital Improvement Fund therefore reducing available funding for capital projects planned in the 10-Year Capital Improvement Plan,
- $382,694 reduction to the transfer from the General Fund to the Vehicle Replacement Fund resulting in the delay of nonessential vehicle purchases and extension of vehicle life cycles,
- $1.14 million reduction in salary and benefit costs by holding current vacant positions open through July 1, 2021 which will have service impacts and require Departments to realign departmental priorities and goals for the coming fiscal year,
- $113,333 reduction of personnel costs by unfunding the Pay for Performance program for Non-Bargaining Unit (NBU) employees for one year, which would delay employee progression through pay grades, and a
- $50,000 reduction to Economic Development budget resulting in less funds available for new or underbudgeted economic development incentives.
Finance Director Kay Nees adds, “The proposed budget for FY 2020/21 includes $2.9 million of budget reductions for the City Council to consider, including reductions in the Capital Improvement Fund, Vehicle Replacement Fund, not filling vacant staff positions, along with other reductions. The Administration continues to closely monitor changes to City revenue projections and will make further recommendations to the Council as appropriate.”
In the upcoming fiscal year, with more information about the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy, the City Council will also need to consider additional expenditure reductions. The City’s long history of sound financial policies and healthy reserves will allow the City Council time to assess the full impact of COVID-19 on the City’s finances and to thoughtfully develop prudent budget balancing strategies in response. The Administration will work with City departments and employee groups over the next few months on various budget balancing options for Council to consider prior to the end of the calendar year and will develop ways to seek public input on budget balancing measures and potential service impacts.