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Thomas Clatterbuck

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The price of water is going to change in Chatham. Last night the Village Board approved an increase to the cost of water. This increase was 46 cents ($0.46) per thousand gallons. Village trustees stressed that this increase was contractually obligated for the village, and was not up to them. Both trustees and community members expressed hopes that someday the village will have more control over its water supply.

But there was good news for water access in the village. New technologies will make adding water taps for sprinkler systems much cheaper. Before, it cost $1,150 because a new tap had to be added. With the new splitting techniques, village manager McCarthy said a new tap should only cost $300 to add a new meter to an existing line. These savings are only for add ons to existing lines; totally new lines will still cost $1,150.

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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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Local

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

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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