Calumet City council approves balanced, $49 million budget Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones gives an address at the end of his swearing-in ceremony in May. The city council passed Jones’ first budget last week. John J. Watkins, File, The Times CALUMET CITY — With an assist from pandemic relief aid from the state of Illinois,
Calumet City council approves balanced, $49 million budget
CALUMET CITY — With an assist from pandemic relief aid from the state of Illinois, Calumet City aldermen have approved a budget that is both balanced and includes $12 million more in revenue and spending than the previous one.
Mayor Thaddeus Jones’ first budget is for fiscal 2021-22 and carries a $49 million price tag. It passed last week by a 5-1 vote with one abstention. Council members Monet Wilson, DeAndre Tillman, Ramonde Williams, DeJuan Gardner and Anthony Smith voted in favor, James “JR” Patton voted no and Michael Navarrete voted present.
Jones said that when he was sworn in May 1 as the first black mayor in a city whose population is 74% black, there was a $2.8 million deficit.
“From May 1 to July 1, we closed that gap and completely erased the deficit,” Jones said.
Though state money helped balance the budget, Jones said that wasn’t the only factor. Among others, he cited aggressively pursuing grants, retooling the invoice system to allow for better accounting, cutting overtime in the public works and fire departments and trimming health care costs by $350,000.
Jones also said the annual expenses for the city’s legal team are down to $1 million from $2.8 million under the previous administration.
Jones said the savings and new revenue will enable the city to hire 10 additional police officers and 10 more firefighters.
Other spending highlights include an additional $150,000 for the city’s summer youth program and $250,000 for emergency support for residents.
The budget includes no new taxes for city residents. But Jones said one looming concern is Chicago’s recent notification to Calumet City of its intent to raise water rates. It’s unclear yet how that could impact water bills for residential and commercial customers, the mayor said.
Patton said he was broadly in approval of the budget, in particularly backing the hiring of more public safety personnel.
He said his no vote was based on an inability to get clarity on the duties of and need for a new position in the city clerk’s office, budgeted for $60,000.
“I went into that final meeting prepared to vote yes,” Patton said. “I did have some concerns, (but) overall I thought it was a good budget.”
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