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Local

Geneva looks at new budget

GENEVA –áThe city has been lean for five years now, tightening belts, reducing spending and its 2013-14 budget proposal reflects that commitment to financial stability, City Administrator Mary McKittrick said Monday in her budget presentation at the city council.

At a proposed $16.3 million, the city's general fund, which pays for day-to-day services, is $2 million less than it was five years ago McKittrick said. It has an ending balance of $4.2 million, which is just over the requirement of having enough money to cover 93 days of expenses.

"This year, my focus is fiscal stability," McKittrick said. "You will recall over the last five years in presenting each of these budgets to you, I have spoken about managing the challenges, wants versus needs, good governance and living within our means."

McKittrick said they have reduced spending where possible – but continued to provide "high quality customer service as well as strengthening communications and enhancing transparency with all stakeholders of the community."

Most of the expenditure reductions in last five years were from deferred capital improvements, reducing or freezing staffing levels and decreasing operational expenditures.

The city's current staffing levels are less than in 2004, she said. Currently, there are 142 employees; in 2004, there were 1 57, she said.

McKittrick referred to a recent staffing analysis that found Geneva was understaffed when compared to cities of comparable size.

"As a result, we have a longer response time to customer requests and we had to modify some of our operations to accommodate fewer resources," McKittrick said. "In short, we are having difficulty keeping up … The demand for services and number of citizens we serve has not declined."

The new budget proposal includes hiring one more person for a communications position, she said.

The city's overall budget across its 32 fund divisions, is almost $87 million, McKittrick said, a difference of $10 million from last year.

McKittrick's presentation will be posted on the city's website, www.geneva.il.us, but she noted the same information is posted through its council packet as well.

She invited questions that would be answered at next Monday's committee of the whole. If the committee approves, a public hearing would be scheduled for April 15 followed by approval.

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