By Devese “Dee” Ursery
Dustin Ziebold, finance director for Collinsville discussed and presented projected numbers for fiscal 2023 during the Nov. 22 city council meeting.
Ziebold explained that the 2023 budget will be significantly higher than last year’s budget. According to meeting documents, expenditures in 2022 were $58,657,721 and revenues were $58,235,729.
In fiscal 2023, expenditures are expected to be $65,979,650 with revenues coming in at an estimated $66,017,150.
“Our budget is significantly higher than it has been in the past and that has to do with the way we are recording various things this year,” Ziebold said. “We are recording our use of Unassigned Fund Balance as revenue, so that will lead to an increase. We want to maintain a conservative approach to our revenues, but they must be reasonable.”
Ziebold said throughout his analysis of the various revenues, there were some that needed to increase to keep up with past trends. Instead of doing an overall 2-3% increase across the board, he went in and analyzed all of the various revenue sources.
“I did that to get them both up and down depending on what trends were,” Ziebold said. “So it was important to keep the estimates conservative, but also keep them realistic. We had all the departments give us a realistic expectation of what their expenses were. We saw significant increases and decreases in a lot of different areas within the operational budgets because some things have gone away.”
According to Ziebold’s Budget Direction and Assumption for 2023, revenue increases would be based on various economic influences and past performance. This would maintain conservative estimates while keeping them reasonable.
He also stated that expense changes are not based on standardized Consumer Price Index increases, but on a priority and performance based approach. The conservative approach allows preparation for a potential recession.
Ziebold also discussed property tax changes and the expiring of Tax Increment Financing No.1. He explained that the City will see an increase of about $50 million in equalized assessed value depending on where some of the assessments come in.
The City will also be conducting a $1 million transfer of the unassigned fund balance from both the general fund and water/sewer fund to their respective capital projects funds.
“The unassigned fund balance is basically the result prior to your surplus revenue or savings and expenditures,” Ziebold said. “The unused portion of a budget rolls up in the UFB. The goal is to use the UFB for operational capital and debt service early payoffs for the upcoming fiscal year.
“City staff will be utilizing capital to be assigned in this budget for planning and efficiency,” Ziebold said.
Ziebold also talked about the debt service, saying that he always takes an aggressive approach toward debt repayment.
‘We need to keep that managed properly, so it does not get out of control,” he said.
The city has budgeted additional payments for outstanding long-term debt which will result in the payoff of three different bond series: 2003, 2004, and 2014, plus an additional payment for a listing bond in 2007. The general fund debt will be reduced from just over $2.4 million to $940,492 and the total debt will be reduced from $53 million to $49 million.
Collinsville is in the top five among surrounding communities in regards to property tax rates, behind Fairview Heights, Godfrey, Shiloh, and Troy. The projected property tax rate will move from .7293 to .6715.
In expenditures, year over year spending in the operational department has remained stable with the exception of three areas: personnel costs, debit service, and capital projects.
The projected 2022 Fund Balance which will be on Dec.31 of this year is just over $8.5 million. If the budget is executed properly the city will see the general fund drop to $6.3 million for the 2023 projected fund balance. That will put the city at 20.25% funding in the fund balance, right where they want to be.
The wastewater fund will drop from $4.3 million to $2.4 million, which would put it at 23% and that is the proximity that the city wants to be, according to Ziebold.
In other news from the meeting, the city approved funds to renovate the second floor of the Collinsville City Hall. An ordinance was passed to award a bid and authorize a contract for renovations of the Old Courtroom to Millennium Construction, LLC. The amount of $186,800 from Millennium was the lowest bid among four other companies.
Parks and Recreation Director Kimberly Caughran discussed upcoming events Christmas at the Collins House and the Light-Up Parade. The Light-Up Parade will start at 5:30 p.m. with the parade route beginning at Gateway and Clay Streets and going through Uptown Collinsville. The parade will end with festivities following at the Collins House.
There will also be a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with other family-friendly activities.