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Thomas Clatterbuck

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The City of Springfield is on track for a budget surplus in FY 2019. Based on current revenue, the city may have a positive fund balance of $1.7 million. This comes as something of a surprise, considering the original budget had an estimated $2.6 million shortfall. At last night’s city council meeting, Budget Director Bill McCarty explained what caused the turnaround.

Numerous factors played into the turnaround. Early tax payments, a large settlement from Comcast, and a transfer from Fund 095 to the corporate fund were key on the revenue side. Hiring delays and stabilizing healthcare cost increases have been key on the expense side of the equation.

The city’s good management has been noted by outsiders as well. The S&P affirmed the city’s AA bond rating, which helps determine how much interest is paid on new bonds. A higher bond rating is a good indicator of financial health, and so avoiding a downgrade is very valuable for the city.

Clouds on the horizon

But while the current year is better than expected, the council was given several warnings about the future. Director McCarty pointed out that much of the surplus was due to a one time settlement. That extra million helps this year, but doesn’t represent a lasting increase in revenue. While optimistic about the long

Representatives from the Police Pension fund also warned about the growing pension obligations. Pensions already consume all of the property tax revenue in the city. McCarty said that where property tax used to pay for pensions and other things, now they only pay for pensions; and even other revenue sources are being tapped to make the required payments.

The S&P also noted these long-term challenges. So while the current AA rating was affirmed, the city’s outlook was downgraded from “stable” to “negative.” Although this will not impact current interest rates, it might make future borrowing more expensive.

You can watch McCarty’s presentation to the council which starts at 55:00. You can also watch his after meeting Q&A in the player below.

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Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

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LIVE | Chatham Village Board Meeting November 13th

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Follow along live with the Chatham Village Board. They will be discussing the village’s finances and pension liability. Next year’s tax levy will also be planned.

Additionally, the Glenwood High School Boys Cross County team was recognized for winning their state contest.

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LIVE | Springfield City Council committee of the whole November 13th

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council committee of the whole.

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Announcements

Ward 2 ward meeting tonight

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The ward meeting for Ward 2 is tonight at 5:30 PM  at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church (908 S. Martin Luther King Drive). Residents are encouraged to come out to meet with their Alderman, Herman Senor, and Mayor Jim Langfelder to discuss the issues they see in the ward and the city.

If you aren’t sure which ward you live in, please check the online map https://www.springfield.il.us/Citizens/WardMap.pdf.

Don’t live in Ward 2? Check out the dates for other upcoming ward meetings:

  • Ward 2 – Alderman Senor: Thursday, November 8 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Ward 1 – Alderman Redpath: Monday, November 12 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Ward 5 – Alderman Proctor and Ward 6 – Alderwoman DiCenso: Wednesday, November 14 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Ward 9 – Alderman Donelan and Ward 10 – Alderman Hanauer: Thursday, December 6 at 5:30 p.m.

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