Aldermen Agree to Disagree and Approve Budget; Assistant City Manager Position Remains
Budget reduces expenses by nearly 12 percent from last year.
Three Elmhurst aldermen voted along with their colleagues Monday to approve the city's 2012-13 budget, even though they disagree with some of its provisions. The spending plan was unanimously approved and takes effect May 1.
First Ward aldermen Diane Gutenkauf and Paula Pezza, and 3rd Ward Alderman Michael Bram, all stated before the vote that they had concerns about parts of the budget, including the hiring of a full-time assistant city manager.
Aldermen have been debating the creation of this position for about a year. Pezza and Gutenkauf proposed alternatives to the full-time job earlier this month, but neither of their ideas were entertained by the full council.
Currently, Mike Kopp serves as both the part-time assistant city manager and as Elmhurst's fire chief.
“I don't agree with everything in this budget, but I will support it as it stands,” Gutenkauf said.
Pezza agreed, adding the plan reduces expenditures and is a “crucial” part of the city's operations. She also noted that the city's bond rating depends on financial stability.
Along with opposing the new second-in-command for City Manager Jim Grabowski, Bram also said he is not happy with what he believes is the lack of attention to the construction of new sidewalks in his ward.
The budget calls for $124 million in expenses, down 11.7 percent from last year. Revenues are projected to be about $102 million. The difference is due to uncertainty regarding the cost of some projects, including the proposed Addison Street parking garage, and will be made up with bond proceeds and capital reserves.