Normal Council Signals Staff Cuts, Fee Increases At Budget Session | WGLT

Normal Council Signals Staff Cuts, Fee Increases At Budget Session

The Town of Normal is likely to make major cuts and fee increases.

After a six-hour budget workshop Thursday, Normal Town Council members signaled support for various measures staff can use to balance the budget. That includes “tragically eliminating 25 positions throughout the organization, as well as looking at some additional revenue,” said City Manager Mark Peterson.

“We’re hopeful by making hard decisions today, we put ourselves on a trajectory that at least over the next five years we’re gonna be fine,” Peterson said.

Twenty of those jobs will be from early retirement or attrition, but five people will lose their town employment. The job cuts alone will reduce town spending by more than $2 million. The town had 378 regular full-time employees at the end of 2016.

Waste fees would rise to eliminate taxpayer subsidies by 2021, and various parks and recreation fees will rise to cost-neutral levels. Council members did not approve property tax increases.

Other cuts the council seemingly agreed on include half the Harmon Arts Grants, the Orlando Police Substation, the Normal Newsline newsletter, a housing rehab program through PATH, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. banquet, and dropbox recycling. The town would also halt electronics recycling unless other governmental bodies agree to share the cost.

Normal is one of many local governments dealing with a budget deficit. Flat sales tax receipts, lower income tax revenue, state rake-offs, and the loss of $1.2 million per year from the Metro Zone agreement that Bloomington summarily ended are creating the need to cut town spending.

Normal town staff will use Thursday’s council guidance to prepare the annual budget. The new fiscal year begins April 1.

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