Early Normal Budget Projections Optimistic | WGLT

Early Normal Budget Projections Optimistic

Sep 5, 2018

After the Town of Normal passed spending cuts and new fees to close a $3 million budget gap this year, it looks like next year’s budget will be deficit-free.

Finance Director Andrew Huhn included this and other projections in a presentation Tuesday night to the Normal Town Council. Council members also reviewed the town’s fiscal year 2018 financial statements and audit report.  

City Manager Pamela Reece explained the review of last year’s performance helps the town avoid unwanted surprises in the future.

“This whole analysis is really timed such that we can look back to see how we finished compared to our projections for last fiscal year, and then maybe look forward looking at these multiyear trends,” Reece said.

Unlike previous years, the upcoming budget will not have a contingency fund. Reece said without these unallocated dollars, the town will be less flexible in the face of unexpected expenses or project opportunities.

Huhn said he’s cautiously optimistic about the town’s finances in light of the upcoming budget.

“We’re getting into the budget process now. We don’t have any major concerns yet, so we’re looking forward to kind of a status quo budget this year, but we’re always kind of cautious about where we stand,” Huhn said.

Huhn noted while municipalities across the state saw lower unemployment rates, the county's workforce continued a two-year decline last year. Increased workforce at larger companies weren’t enough to boost overall county numbers, he said.

The town also saw continuing declines in income tax revenues, while sales tax revenues remained flat.

Still Huhn praised the town’s efforts to manage its debt and maintain healthy reserves in its water, sewer and capital funds.

“We’re in a good position because of the council and its policies and last year’s budget process,” Huhn said.

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