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City Council Attempts to Prioritize Budget

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 288

6-23-14 Galesburg City CouncilFIRST REPORTED 5pm 6/23/14  It took them all of three hours to decide, but the Galesburg City Council now has four main areas they want administration to work on when crafting a budget for the coming calendar/fiscal year.

Aldermen held the first of what will be many budget work sessions between now and the end of the fiscal year in December Monday afternoon. While City Manager Todd Thompson put nearly a dozen different potential goals together in a list, aldermen seemed to hone in on four of them.

Outside of trying to cut an estimated $1.5 million structural budget deficit next year, 7th Ward Alderman Jeremy Karlin says top priorities will help improve that bottom line.

“Economic development — business-focused, economic development — people-focused, housing — which really feeds in greater degrees to those two [previous] issues, and then a budgetary process that lets us have rational conversations about funding levels and service,” Karlin said.  “I think we’re going to start doing that as we come on to later in the fall.”

Aldermen spent a fair amount of time expressing concern on improving the business climate, which Mayor John Pritchard says will be helped by the still-being-formed new public-private economic development entity.

“There’s a business that’s been here, that’s been trying to get started for nine months,” said Ald. Wayne Allen, Ward 6.  “It’s not just the city — it’s the county involved in stalling them, too.  But they started another project in a different town four months after they started this one.  That business is open there, and they’re doing business.  So, we certainly need to look at the length of time, and how we do developments.”

The City Council also talked plenty about communication, improving the city’s pension funds, and other areas like affordable housing, and making sure people known about the good going on in the city.