La Grange mayor presents city budget with ‘adequate revenue’

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Employees receive 3 percent raise, improvements to parks included

By Kenny Colston

For the first time in eight years, La Grange Mayor Bill Lammlein said the city has been presented a budget that does not put the city in further into debt.

Lammlein presented the budget at the monthly meeting of the La Grange City Council Monday night. It is now up to the council to tweak, amend or pass the budget as presented before the new fiscal year starts July 1.

The balanced budget is thanks largely to two new revenue streams, Lammlein said, the recently passed occupational tax and revenue from the tax on licenses allowing the sale of alcohol.

The occupational tax will bring in roughly $1.36 million a year and the alcohol tax is slated to generate $229,000 in revenue for the city, he said.

The budget also includes a 3 percent across the board pay raise for city employees, the first time the city has given a raise in two years. That pay raise doesn’t include the council or the mayor, Lammlein said.

Other highlights of the budget include money for surveillance cameras in city parks, to be monitored “24/7,” Lammlein said, as well as an additional $30,000 to be spent improving and restoring worn benches and other amenities in the city parks.

The oft-criticized occupational tax is the reason the city’s parks can be restored after years of neglect, Lammlein said.

“(The tax) allows me to put $30,000 into the parks,” he said. “It opens up a wide range of things the city has needed for years and just couldn’t do. It frees up some money we can spend on maintaining our city.”

The budget also dedicates funds for sidewalk improvements and other “community building” things, the mayor said.

Lammlein’s budget accounts for roughly $5.2 million in revenue spread over several city departments, including public works, police, administration, parks and the city bus.

The council has yet to tip its hand on how it will handle the budget going forward. Lammlein said he won’t play a role in what the council does, because budget meetings in past years haven’t been that fruitful.

But the mayor did signify the budget he presented charted a positive course for the city going forward.

“We’re on our strongest financial footing in years,” Lammlein told the council. “I see a bright and prosperous future for all our citizens.”

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