By Craig Hastings
Monday night’s city council meeting started 45 minutes early in order for members to review the proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget.
City Treasurer Alta Long had the floor and guided members through a step-by-step explanation of expected revenues and estimated proposed expenses. For the most part each department has held the line and not requested increases over their 2018 budgets. Long stated she expects that income revenues will be down slightly including a slight decrease in sales tax revenue. Long continued that she expects a series of street resurfacing projects to be the largest project expenditure during the year. She explained to the council how approximately $400,000 will be spent to improve large portions of four streets in Tuscola.
The four streets targeted will be South Niles Avenue, North Line Road, North Prairie Street, and North Parke Street. Long stated the city has prepared for such expenses over the past years and has strategically planned how the city will pay for the improvements without borrowing money. All but the South Niles Avenue project will not be complete surface grinding renovations but rather a tried-and-proven method of micro-sealing. The micro-sealing method has proved to extend the life of a roadway by as many as 10 years. By doing this, it allows the responsible governments to prepare for complete renovations in the years that follow. South Niles Avenue will require the surface be ground down, hauled away, and a new and thicker surface applied. This will take more time, more money, and requires sidewalk improvements be made if those sidewalks do not meet standards to accommodate citizens with handicap disabilities.
All in all, Long said the city continues to stay in the black and actually manages to stay under budget most years. Mayor Dan Kleiss stated he felt it was important to note that in a time when other units of government including the State of Illinois as a whole continue to overspend anticipated revenues, the City of Tuscola has for years come in under their anticipated budgets. This is something Mayor Kleiss is proud of and credits to his administration staff along with current and past council members. Strategic planning and sometimes doing without contribute to budget success.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, March 28 edition of The Tuscola Journal.