Wheaton City Council Eyes Finances, State Funding Cuts

The city is preparing a plan to deal with state revenue cuts, and a five-year plan anticipating additional cuts, limited economic growth, increasing personnel costs and infrastructure needs.

The Wheaton City Council spent Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, looking at possible state cuts and a bleak five-year financial plan. | Credit: Ted Schnell
The Wheaton City Council spent Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, looking at possible state cuts and a bleak five-year financial plan. | Credit: Ted Schnell

Wheaton officials are bracing for a possible new round of state budget cuts and are looking at a five-year plan that anticipates continued state revenue losses, limited economic growth, mounting personnel costs, plus infrastructure needs, Suburban Life Publications reports.

At its meeting Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, the City Council reviewed a potential response plan to be used if state cuts are made, and a five-year financial plan, according to Suburban Life Publications.

The city staff, at the direction of the council, presented a plan the city could use should the state decides to cut the level of state revenues it apportions to local governments. The plan anticipates a reduction of 20 percent or more in a fiscal year, Suburban Life Publications reports, and predicts those cuts could come as early as late 2014.

That’s because the state would be bracing for the Jan. 1, 2015 expiration of a state income tax increase, City Manager Donald Rose told the council.

For fiscal 2014, the city anticipate receiving state revenues of about $12.7 million;  about $11.5 million of that accounts for about a third of Wheaton’s general fund, Suburban Life Publications reports.. The rest is scheduled the city’s annual road improvement program under its Motor Fuel Tax Fund.

A 20 percent or more cut in the city’s state revenues would be difficult to handle, Rose said,  because of past staff cuts. That, Suburban Life Publications reports, would put the city in the position of considering new revenue sources  — taxes or vehicle stickers — as well as possible cuts, ranging from personnel to operations and service to capital projects.

The five-year plan for city finances, according to Suburban Life Publications, predicts the city continuing to be challenged by the state budget crisis, slow economic growth, mounting benefits for personnel and improvements to the city’s infrastructure.

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