News Column

Audit: City has surplus

August 11, 2014

By Maria Nagle, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.

Aug. 11--BLOOMINGTON -- The City of Bloomington's general fund, which pays for most services, ended the 2014 fiscal year with an estimated surplus of $1.2 million, attributed largely to revenue increases in several areas.

That is among details from an unaudited report on the city's financial activity through the end of the fiscal year, April 30, which Finance Director Patti-Lynn Silva is expected to share during the City Council's work session at 6:15 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 109 E. Olive St.

"The surplus is being created because some of our major sources of revenue -- income tax, hotel/motel tax and video gaming -- came in over our amended budgeted projections," said City Manager David Hales. "Also, through strong financial management, we were able to keep expenses under budget."

There was a $550,000 increase in the city's share of income tax. May 2013 income tax receipts statewide increased 36 percent in anticipation of a new federal tax policy related to capital gains income that never occurred, according to the Illinois Municipal League.

Increased collection efforts and room rentals resulted in increased hotel/motel tax revenue of $251,000, according to the report.

The first full year of video gaming revenue came in at $389,000. "And that's with 200 video gaming machines in operation within the city limits," Hales said.

In addition, unaudited general fund expenditures came in $387,000 under budget overall. Factors contributing to the decrease included several staff or contract positions in the finance and information services departments that remain open or were filled late in the year.

The work session will be followed by a regular session at 7 p.m., during which the council is expected to hear a recommendation to resume garbage collection on all holidays except Christmas.

Earlier this year, the council decided to stop holiday waste collection, anticipating it could save the city money.

"But it has not been a significant cost-saving measure and even furthermore, we are running the risk of very expensive personnel injuries because we're trying to do two routes in one day," Hales said. The multiple routes stem from waste that would have been picked up on the holiday being collected the next work day, he added.

The council also will be presented with a draft of the Downtown Streetscape Lighting Master Plan, which details recommendations to complete downtown beautification efforts, including decorative street lighting and other streetscape improvements.


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Source: Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL)

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