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Jacksonville pool project moves forward at city council meeting

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Plans to improve the Nichols Park pool cleared an important hurdle at last night’s city council meeting. After hearing proposals from three firms, Water’s Edge Aquatics was chosen by the selection committee. The decision was approve by the council.

Water’s Edge Aquatics will now perform a study and make a recommendation to the council about what direction the improvement project should go in. Those recommendations will then be reviewed by the city council. Work will begin once funding is approved for the project. However, Alderman Warmowski told me that although selecting a firm was an important step, the whole process may still take several more years.

The city also voted to amend the Liquor Ordinance and remove two liquor license. Pizza Hut is giving up their license, and Casey’s is also losing one.

Alderman Patterson also discussed her upcoming ordinance proposal limiting where and when dumpsters can be parked. She noted that there are no rules about placing dumpsters in parking areas for extended periods of time if the dumpster is being used for an approved purpose.

You can watch the full meeting 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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Southeast branch pickup is tomorrow

Staff Contributor

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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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