Fairfield council approves levy reduction

The Fairfield City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2019-20 Operating and Capital Improvements Budgets, which include a lower tax levy rate, during its meeting Monday night.

The levy rate for FY20 is 15.7 percent per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which is a 1 percent reduction from the current fiscal year.

The revenues total $36,353,602 and expenditures total $36,607,942 over the next fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

Council member Tom Thompson, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, explained the objective was to keep the budget relatively stable.

City administrator Aaron Kooiker said that fiscal year revenues are up 7 percent, while expenditures are up 2 percent.

Projected revenues in the General Fund total $4,915,445 and expenditures within the General Fund total $4,917,756. Compared to the current FY, this is a 7.8 percent increase in revenues and an 8 percent increase in expenditures.

Thompson pointed out that the General Fund includes a 3 percent pay raise for staff.

“We are trying to catch back up; employees didn’t get increases the last two years because we were trying to build the cash reserve,” he said.

Other noteworthy changes and funding requests in the General Fund include a 6.2 percent increase in the cost of health insurance and reduction in the city’s debt service levy due to using Local Option Sales Tax funds.

Projected revenues within the enterprise funds total $25,055,500 and expenditures within the enterprise funds total $25,170,737. The budget was adjusted for capital improvements in the wastewater department of approximately $18,000,000, which include STEP 2 and Libertyville Road construction, construction of wastewater treatment plant improvements, sanitary sewer lining and point repair projects.

Projected revenues in the Capital Improvement Fund is $236,271 and projected expenditures are $236,000. Projected revenues in the Road Use Tax are $1,149,876 and projected expenditures are $1,204,996. Compared to the current fiscal year, this is a 1 percent increase in the CIRF expenditures and a 5.3 percent increase in the RUTF expenditures.

The noteworthy budget requests from CIRF and RUTF include about 15 blocks of asphalt overlay. Additional improvements include the reconstruction of 400 feet of Monroe Avenue from Third to Fourth streets, the reconstruction of the alleyway north from Burlington Avenue to Broadway Avenue west of Main Street, and the conversion of Broadway and Court Street from one-way to two-way.

In his letter to the mayor and council members highlighting the budget, Kooiker wrote, “On a positive note, Local Option Sales Tax and the Hotel/Motel tax continue to be stable during the current budget year. Unobligated reserves and cash on hand goals have been meet at the end of this fiscal year. Some of that money has been put in investments that will gain a higher rate of interest. That interest will be used to pay down the tax levy or on special projects.”

No comments were made by community members during the public hearing of the proposed FY2020 Budget. The council members approved the budget unanimously.