Public hearing on city budget set for Tuesday

DeKALB – The DeKalb City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday to give residents a chance to voice their opinions about next year's fiscal budget.

The city has held a series of public workshops during the past two weeks, with each one addressing individual, or in some cases several, city departments and their fiscal needs. Tuesday's hearing will be another chance for residents to comment on the budget, City Manager Mark Biernacki said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

The city council is then expected to consider the budget on first reading, he said, with a final vote coming in June.

The Fiscal Year 2010 budget starts July 1 and ends June 30, 2010. The city expects to spend $29.4 million in FY 2010, according to officials, and expects revenues of about $29.6 million, giving DeKalb a slight surplus in funds.

The council is also being asked to consider, on first reading, an ordinance that would freeze the cost of living and merit pay increases for 34 members of the city's management staff, Biernacki said. In exchange, there would be no involuntary layoffs among that group, he added. The cost of living increase for the next fiscal year has been estimated to be a 1.38 percent increase per person, according to city officials.

Officials are having "ongoing discussions" with three unions in the city regarding their compensation, Biernacki added.

Also up for a first-reading vote by the council is an ordinance to repeal an increase in the restaurant-bar tax that was set to go into effect July 1. The council decided May 11 to repeal the one-half percent increase, citing the poor economy as a reason to not go through with it.

Alderman need to approve the ordinance to ensure the increase doesn't go into effect, Biernacki said.

Other business scheduled for Tuesday includes:

The first "Yards of Distinction" awards will be given, as part of a new program that recognizes homes and businesses that have put time and effort into maintaining their yards

Consideration of a bid from Sipes and Sons in the amount of $29,976 to demolish four properties in the Lions Park area that the city has bought because they are in the flood plain.