City discusses budget issues

Nancy Broten

With President Reagan’s proposed 1987-88 budget calling for further cuts to city funding, the DeKalb City Council will have to continue looking for new ways to raise revenues and cut expenses.

In a special meeting of the city council Monday, aldermen and city staff discussed possible “alternatives to reduce expenditures and services.” The meeting was the first of a number of scheduled “workshops” to discuss budget issues.

Last year, the DeKalb City Government was forced to cut back services in a number of areas due to earlier reductions in federal aid and the elimination of federal revenue sharing.

First Ward Alderman Ron Matekaitis said the Reagan administration planned to return more responsibility to state and municiple governments. However, at the same time federal funding was reduced, leaving municipal governments without the funds to use their “new” responsibilities, he said.

Cuts were made last year in such areas as snow removal and the elimination of the animal control program. Funding to a number of social services was also reduced and one patrol officer was cut from the police force through attrition.

The council has also looked into new ways of raising city revenues. DeKalb officials resigned not to raise taxes and looked to other ways to raise funds including a tax increment financing program.

The greatest loss of funding is in the area of Federal Revenue Sharing. Revenue sharing has allowed for money to be spent on civil and social services deemed necessary by the citizens and city council of DeKalb.

In recent years the federal government slowly reduced FRS so the money could be used in other areas of the federal budget. The 1987-88 proposed budget contains no revenue sharing opportunities for municipal governments like DeKalb.

DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow said chances are unlikely of a similar form of revenue sharing being reinstated into the federal budget.

Social service agencies such as the Youth Services Bureau, Senior Citizen Center and Safe Passage have received much of their funding from the city budget. Such services could be hard hit if the budget currently proposed is passed, although the city council voted last October to continue funding social service agencies by whatever means.

Matekaitis said DeKalb’s 1985-86 budget allocated only about $120,000 to social service agencies, which is a considerable cutdown from what was able to be allocated in the past.