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Streator finances in line with 2018

Streator Chief Financial Officer Wes Levy presented the City Council with the mid-year 2019 financial review during Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, with the city spending $4.475 million in the first six months of 2019 – $20,383 more than they spent in 2018.

However, the city is trending downward in terms of spending after expenditures totaled $4.8 million during the same time period in 2017. The revenue numbers may also change, as Levy said they don’t historically receive their first tax deposit until July and it hasn’t been deposited yet; 42% of anticipated revenue from the first six months of 2019 have been received.

The city has made $3.9 million in the first six months of 2019, $168,180 more than projected.

“We’ve done a good job of balancing the last several years but it’s not going to get easier as we go,” Levy said. “There’s going to be harder decisions that we have to make in the future outside of possibly hiring another police officer. It’s going to need creative thinking and more long-term planning on what we need to do today versus tomorrow.”

The more difficult decisions the council will face include deciding how much of the police and fire pensions will be covered, which are required to be covered at 90% by state law but the town has covered at 100% for the last two years.

Levy anticipates the city ending the year with somewhere around $1.9 million in reserves, compared to $2.1 million in 2018.

“In terms of kicking in extra dollars (to the police and fire pensions), do we pay now or do we pay later?” said Mayor Jimmie Lansford.

Lansford said the city will be able to have a more substantial discussion once their audit is finished, which Levy anticipates being done in September.

The Committee of the Whole meeting also doubled as a special City Council meeting so the council could start the process of opening bids for property they inherited at 803 E. Hickory St. in an effort to sell the property without having to pay appraisal and other legal fees. The property falls under the downtown TIF district and is commercially zoned.

“There’s a pending sale of property to the south and that person is interested in purchasing this lot, too,” said City Engineer Jeremy Palm.

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