Posted Online: April 21, 2010, 10:16 pm

Silvis cuts budget without layoffs

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By Seth Kabala, seth@sethkabala.com

SILVIS -- Silvis aldermen on Tuesday approved a budget for the fiscal year beginning May 1 that envisions many spending cuts but no layoffs.

"There were nights when I was literally sick to my stomach," finance chairman Ald. Barb Fox, 2nd Ward, said of the need to find cuts. She presented highlights of the new budget to council members during a public hearing attended by only two citizens, neither of whom spoke.

Ald. Fox said the finance committee began its work facing a shortfall for 2011 of $234,860. During the ensuing weeks, Silvis received repeated rounds of bad news, including a $42,800 increase in health, disability and life insurance premiums and Gov. Pat Quinn's plans to cut the percentage of income tax receipts shared by local municipalities.

Despite the difficulties, Ald. Fox said the city has no plans to lay off any employees. "We have a budget," she said. "It is not pretty. It is very upsetting to many people in this city." All departments saw cuts, she said, and the city will continue to struggle until the state closes the four-month-in-arrears gap for income tax payments.

The new budget shows a projected surplus on April 30, 2011, of $83,260. "Which will barely cover a payroll," Ald. Fox said.

When the fiscal 2010 budget was put together, general fund surplus was more than $500,000, she said, but the current project foresees a $21,369 deficit. "Where has it gone? It's gone to keep our city running," she said.

The budget predicts general fund revenues will drop from $3,438,900 this fiscal year to $3,327,500 in fiscal 2011.

Some of the cuts approved:

- -Police Department 2010 budget, $1,429,493; 2011, 1,346,550

-- Police salaries reduced $34,755 to $806,900

-- Police small equipment purchases reduced $7,600 to $2,500

-- No police major equipment purchases ($34,100 in 2010)

-- Fire Department 2010 budget, $328,443; 2011, $293,500

-- No clerk's office miscellaneous expenses ($2000 in 2010)

-- Clerk's office telephone reduced $1,500 to $3,900

-- Office expenses reduced $1,000 to $9,000

-- Building inspector salary reduced $9,586 to $48,200

-- Inspector major equipment purchases reduced $4,500 to $1,000