Sewer project begins nearly 60 years later

DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — Decatur city council members are seeing red, but changes to the budget could be right around the corner.

City manager Tim Gleason says the city is in a $3.2 million hole with $1.2 million of that total being withheld for anticipated back pay for city employees.

But Decatur’s plight may not be as bad as other central Illinois cities. Bloomington is facing a $3.9 million deficit. Peoria has $7.9 million to make up. Springfield sat atop the list in Gleason’s presentation to the council with $11.5 million.

What’s causing those deficits? Gleason says a 10 percent reduction in state funding from the local government distribution fund was a “game changer” for local municipalities.

Decatur city council members are looking for a way to chip away at the deficit, but Councilman Pat McDaniel says any deficit harms the city’s overall mission.

“The quality of life the city is responsible for is making sure we have police and fire for public safety [and] that we ensure the roads are in good shape,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel says the city should look at cutting funding to local organizations before he would feel comfortable signing off on a staffing cut.

No action was taken on the deficit at Monday night’s meeting, but the council is still examining options for the future.