DeKalb finance committee continues budget discussion to October

September 28, 2018

DeKALB – The DeKalb Finance Advisory Committee will hold off on making a recommendation on potential budget cuts or tax increases until its regular meeting in October.

Gathered at the DeKalb Police Department on Thursday night, the committee debated how to proceed with proposed balancing measures for the city’s general fund for fiscal 2019.

“What I think would be easiest for the committee is to put [cuts] into three categories,” Chairman Mike Peddle said.

“No, yes and maybe,” committee member Tom Teresinski said.

The stated goal of the Finance Advisory Committee is to “provide well-reasoned, financially sound recommendations to the City Council,” and with a projected budget shortfall of $450,000 for fiscal 2018 projected to grow to $1.2 million in 2019, the city is looking for ways either to bring in additional revenue or cut down on expenses.

Whatever course of action the City Council decides to pursue will take effect June 1.

“The important thing to remember is that it’s cumulative, so if you make a change in the beginning, it [snowballs] going forward,” interim City Manager Molly Talkington said.

Potentially cutting the information technology director positions at the police and fire departments was discussed, but Police Chief Gene Lowery spoke about the continued need for the position.

“I think its mission is critical for us. I also think its mission is critical for the community,” Lowery said, citing the tens of thousands of 911 calls the police department fields over the course of a year.

Committee member Lynn Neeley agreed.

“To cut too hard on your IT is like eating your seed when you’re a farmer. … Cutting your throat,” Neeley said. “We are increasingly dependent on it.”

The committee members will return to their meeting space in the training room on the second floor of the DeKalb Police Department with their suggested cuts at 5 p.m. Oct. 10.

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