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  • Megann Horstead

Joliet budget highlighted at special council meeting


Joliet officials are looking to begin the process of adopting a budget for 2017.

A $281 million dollar budget proposal was highlighted last week during a special meeting of the Joliet City Council.

The budget allocates money for various capital projects including 25 police squad car cameras, ash tree removal and a truck with a plow.

The Rialto Theatre, which drew a crowd of supporters and opponents to the meeting, will not receive any money in the proposed budget, despite having received funds in previous years.

City Manager Jim Hock said that, while there are a number of items included in the budget, other items do not appear considering the state of the state.

“Much of capital budget, like, last year the state just adopted a budget to get them through 2016 and they haven’t adopted a budget for 2017 at this point,” he said. “Being conservative, we want to wait until the state adopts their budget, making sure that they don’t cut our local government distributive fund to try and balance their budget. At the time that the state adopts their budget, we will again, like, this year revisit the capital requests.”

Hock said thanks to city staff the budget proposal demonstrates a number of improvements that weren’t exhibited in prior years.

Joliet officials expect to see a $6.9 million deficit in general funds upon a projected $172 million in revenues and $179 million in expenditures. The difference is accounted for using a portion of the city’s $39,900,000 fund balance, to support fundamental services for police, fire, planning and economic development, engineering services and garbage collection. That projection makes for a $4.67 million increase in estimated revenues, compared to the 2016 budget.

For Joliet, property taxes represent the second largest source of revenue. The property tax levy for the city is expected to go up 1 percent, so will a separate property tax levy for Joliet Public Library that would increase by 2 percent.

In the separate water and sewer fund, officials project $47 million in revenues and $52.8 million in expenditures. That’s a decrease in the city’s net position of $5 million, which provides for operations and maintenance of the water and sewer system.

“We’ve got almost $8 million in capital expenditures,” he said. “As you know, we’re spending a lot of this money on the wastewater treatment plants, sanitary and storm separation, and some of those IEPA-required programs and projects.”

The city expects the parking fund to have a little more than a $1 million in revenues, expenditures of $1.8 million and $785,0000 use of fund balances. Joliet officials do not intend to propose any upgrades, they’re just operating the system as is.

The Joliet City Council is slated to vote on the city manager’s proposed budget Dec. 20 in order to levy taxes, which have to be filed by Dec. 22.

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