The city of Peru approved a budget for fiscal year 2014 and outlined new projects at a council meeting Wednesday.
Treasurer Gary Hylla led the meeting, outlining areas he believed were highlights.
The budget is similar to that for 2013 because the local economy has not rebounded as expected, Hylla said. The city depends heavily on retail sales tax
For budgeting Hylla projected less than 1 percent growth in sales tax revenues, although the tax is expected to generate 17 percent more this coming year than in 2010, he said. Shoppers spend an estimated $540 million a year at Peru stores, Hylla said.
“One-third out of every dollar spent in the county is spent in Peru,” he said.
The airport budget is expected to break or better this year with three concerts for charity scheduled there this summer, Hylla said. The effect of the federal sequester on Peru’s airport is unknown now, Hylla said. Airport maintenance is largely funded by federal aviation dollars.
The franchise fee for electric light fund is about $875,000. It reimburses the general fund for compensation-related expenses, mainly pension liability, Hylla said. The pace of pension payments by the city should easily meet a mandate in a state law passed in 2011 that municipal pension obligations for police and fire workers should be met by 90 percent by 2041, he said.
Mike Perry of Chamlin & Associates, engineering consultant for the city, outlined public works programs. After the city’s $1.5 million street overlaying this year, it will begin a preventative maintenance program to patch continually repair damage from seasonal freezing and thawing, Perry said. This will include crack-sealing, spray patching, and thin “micro-surfacing” on low traffic streets, he said.
This will cost 10 cents for every dollar spent to completely repave streets every eight to 10 years. By the fifth year of this plan, annual street repaving cost should be down to $500,000 a year, Perry said.
Secondly the city will address sewer and water pipes. The first phase of the Area 1 storm and sanitary sewer separation will begin this year, with bid opening later this month, he said. This will cost $600,000 to $700,000. This phase includes from Water Street and north one block at Center Street. It will include curb-to-curb street replacement on a section of Water Street. The next phase will include Center Street to Rock and Plum Streets. All of Area 1 is roughly bounded by Route 251 and West Street, Perry said.
This follows the Area 4 and 6 sewer project completed in 2011.
For budgeting, Hylla left out funding expected from the federal Community Development Assistance Program in public works projects.
Public works costs and debt will be covered by the half-cent sales tax dedicated to infrastructure without need to borrow, and Hylla said he will go into this more in the coming weeks.
Alderman Dave Potthoff said he was pleased by a conservative budgeting approach of downplaying sales tax increases. Alderman Mike Radtke said the upshot is that the general fund shows more than $100,000 surplus. Projected revenues are $13.67 million and expenses are forecast to be $13.55, with a surplus of $117,636.
The city’s property tax approved in December and payable this year went up 4.5 percent to 42 cents per $100 in taxable property value for a total levy of $944,450.
The agenda for the meeting mistakenly listed the budget as fiscal year 2013. Also, the budget vote was 7-1, with Alderman Rodney Perez voting “nay” because, he said, he requested roundtable meetings (in addition to discussions in the finance committee and council) and he said there were “several items” in the budget he did not approve of, although he did not say what they were.
Earlier, Perez asked if the $275,000 budgeted to tear down the old Kings Inn on May Road is covered by hotel-motel taxes. It is but is listed in the general fund, Hylla said.
n The city will release $643 from a pool fundraising account to be used to plan a Family Fun Fair for June 15, which raises money for the pool.
n The finance committee will recommend raising the annual funding of the Peru Volunteer Ambulance Service from $4,000 to $5,000 and with automatic annual increases of 3 percent, Radtke said.
n City crews will pick up refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, water heaters and other large household appliances set at curbsides on regular garbage days from April 22-26.
n There will be no council meeting May 1. On May 6 the meeting will include swearing in of elected officials.
n The council approved authorizing execution of a legal services agreement with law firms concerning online hotel-motel reservation services such as Expedia and Travelocity, at the urging of Doug Schweickert, the city’s attorney, These services avoid paying the tax on the portion of revenue they keep, he said. The city’s move will join other Illinois cities pursuing the same legal recovery of lost taxes, he said.
n Cops for Cancer fundraising wants to observe its 10 year anniversary by holding a parade at 1 p.m. July 13 following the local homecoming parade route beginning in Rotary Park, Clerk Dave Bartley said.
Reporter Jeff Dankert can be reached at (815) 220-6977 or email@example.com.