Urbana Mayor Plans $800K In Budget Cuts
by Jeff Bossert
Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing has planned more than $800,000 in spending cuts to help offset a loss in property tax revenue.
Along with a quarter-cent sales tax hike, Prussing said the changes she brought up before the city council Monday night are needed to bridge a $1 million gap created by Carle Foundation Hospital’s tax-exempt status.
She expects to save about $200,000 by lowering the amount Urbana contributes to police and fire pensions. Prussing explained that this move should not be compared to what the state of Illinois has done with pension contributions. She added that this is a result of an improved stock market.
"The actuaries are not asking for as much as they did before," Prussing said. "And also, IMRF, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, which includes all the other employees, they are also well-funded. We don’t have same pension problem that the state of Illinois has because we religiously put in the same amount we’re supposed to put in year after year.”
Prussing also said she wants to hold health insurance premiums to the same level as last year, noting Urbana’s levels are among the highest in the state. The mayor is also imposing a delay in filling a few city positions.
The sales tax hike enacted by the Urbana City Council last week is expected to generate a little over $300,000 when in takes effect in January.