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Sycamore council to hear budget details

April 1, 2019 GMT

SYCAMORE—The fiscal 2020 budget is ready to roll out for review at Monday night’s Sycamore City Council meeting.

Next year’s budget plan calls for almost $17 million in general fund expenditures, which the city plans will be covered nearly dollar-for-dollar in anticipated revenues.

In addition, Sycamore’s general fund reserve will sit at an estimated $6 million when the new fiscal year dawns on May 1, accounting for roughly 36 percent of anticipated budget needs over the coming year.

Around $1.8 million is allotted for street maintenance over fiscal 2020, with most of the work anticipated for streets and sidewalks throughout the city’s southwest side.

Plans for Phase III of the ongoing construction and renovation project at the city’s wastewater treatment facility on North Cross Street will also feature in the budget plan.

In March, the city received a $20.8 million loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency which will be used to fund a large portion of the $21.6 million project. 

However, the city plans to use reserve cash to avoid drawing down all of the IEPA funding.

“It’s highly unlikely we’ll reach anywhere near the ceiling of the IEPA loan,” City Manager Brian Gregory said.

A proposed flat-fee structure for ambulance services will also go before the council Monday. Under the new arrangement, fees will no longer be varied based on the services rendered, a move the city says is in line with similar-sized communities throughout the state.

Fees would be pegged at $1,720 for all emergency services, while lift assist services would see an increase to $860 per call.

Andreas Medical Billing, the city’s billing provider for ambulance services, will adjust its fee down from 4.95 to 4 percent under the new plan. Gregory says the city can expect further savings through staffing hours currently committed to the variable-rate structure.

Odds and ends

Fire Chief Peter Polarek, who has held the department’s top spot since 2012, is due for a contract extension at Monday’s meeting. The chief’s current deal is set to expire April 30; the proposal would see his contract extended to Dec. 21, 2022.

And four businesses that share space with the city in its downtown offices have their leases up for renewal. Zea Mays Holdings, Greenfield Creative and Shop in Style will all be extended a further year with council approval, while Mr. G’s Music will get a six-month lease with an option to renew.

Sycamore City Council meets 7 p.m. at the Sycamore Center, 302 W. State St. Public comment on the budget will be welcome during Monday’s meeting. 

The city anticipates passing the fiscal 2020 plan at its April 15 meeting. The budget is available for review at the city’s offices or online at cityofsycamore.com.