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Thomas Clatterbuck

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One issue dominated last evening’s Village Board meeting in Chatham: where did the $70 squeegee come from? No one had an answer, although some hypotheses were put forward. The most favorable and probable explanation is that the expense was for several squeegees, totaling $70. However, several residents voiced their concerns about this issue and other recent expenditures. They want to ensure spending is kept under control to prevent debt from accumulating that their children will have to pay off later. The Village Manager is investigating the issue.

Update: Village Manager Patrick McCarthy has contacted us to tell us the purchase was for 3, 30” squeegees. That comes out to $23.61 per squeegee.

County Clerk Don Gray (R) spoke to the board about recent activities from the Clerk’s office. These included the mobile records units and election security. The mobile record units bring vital record services to residents where they are. This is important for homebound individuals, and those who cannot reach the normal offices. Gray went on to assure the board that the recent primary election was carried out without any issues. He also said that Sangamon County election records are secure from outside interference. Still, upgrades are being planned to provide better service and more security when it comes to voter registration.

The board also recognized Police Sergeant Dave Drabing for his service. Sergeant Drabing will be retiring at the end of the month.

You can see the $70 expenditure on page 4 of the attached PDF Warrant List April 24 2018. You can watch the full meeting in the player.

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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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Southeast branch pickup is tomorrow

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Residents in the southeast quadrant are reminded to put out their branches tonight for the fall pickup. Branches need to be out by 6:00 AM to ensure they are picked up. The southeast quadrant is south of South Grand Avenue and east of Walnut Street, and includes the properties around Lake Springfield. This is the only scheduled branch pickup for the quadrant this fall.

You can also check out the city’s map to find out which quadrant you are in and other regulations about the pickup.

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City gets good budget news tempered with warnings

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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LIVE | Springfield City Council October 16th

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council meeting. Local BSA troop 202 is present. Camp Care-a-Lot is being recognized for their work with under privileged students. Director McCarty will present on the city’s finances shortly.

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