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City Council Takes Closer Look at Long-Term Financial Planning

The Committee-of-the-Whole met Monday to discuss funding for future capital projects.

City Administrator Bryon Vana plans to assemble a list of core capital projects, their estimated costs and a timeline for their completion as a result of a meeting Monday regarding long-term funding for capital projects. 

The idea of the list is to give residents an idea of what critical projects the city must complete and where potential revenues may come from. 

Discussion that took place during this year’s budget talks about the spurred the meeting. 

Ward 7 Halil Avci said during the budget talks that within three years, the city will be spending about $1.4 million more on capital projects than that fund takes in, leaving it with an end balance of about $268,000.

“If we look forward (three to five years) to see what projects we have in line, we can estimate the revenue and see if they match each other and how we’ll adjust that,” he said Monday. 

Both Avci and Ward 6 Alderman McIvor said they didn’t want residents to be taken by surprise if the city eventually needs to sell bonds to come up with revenue sources for necessary projects.

Mayor Kathleen Weaver said the city already plans its projects so as to avoid emergency bond sales.

“I don’t think we’ve ever been in a position where we’ve been up against a wall,” she said. In recent years, sales of city-owned property have bolstered revenues. This year the city plans to sell a roughly $1.8 million lot to Chase Bank. Last year the city sold land to Great Dane. 

If the city doesn’t spend money it takes in, Weaver said, it risks being accused of sitting on residents money.

“(Residents say), ‘You are the custodians of our money. When we pay our taxes, you have a responsibility to spend our money responsibly,’” Ward 5 Alderman Joe Marchese added.

A similar list to the one Vana will compile appears on page 42 of the fiscal year 2013 budget, but he said he will add some narrative to that to flesh out more details.

“It could be revised every year based on financial conditions, based on the economy, whatever,” McIvor said. “I think the narrative is helpful to understand where where we’re at and where we’re heading in the future.”

Vana said he plans to have the list ready by the second City Council meeting in June.

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