Danville approves $69.4 million budget for FY 2021-22

Published 1:46 pm Thursday, July 15, 2021

Includes utility and parks projects, downtown streetscape

The Danville City Commission has approved the city’s approximately $69.4 million budget for fiscal year 2021-2022.

The budget includes its largest appropriations for its utility fund, parks and recreation fund, and streetscapes fund. It also takes into account several city staff changes including the addition of staff members in the police, fire, utilities, and other departments, and the approved FY 2021-22 compensation and classification plan reflects changes.

As of Wednesday morning the budget in its entirety had not been released on the city’s website or shared with the Advocate-Messenger.

The budget ordinance received its first reading on June 22, with its second reading June 24, approved unanimously each time. City Manager Earl Coffey shared details on some of the largest appropriations and organizational changes within city staff.

He said when comparing last year’s budget to this one, the summary budget will show the city’s expenditure going up “quite a bit.”

“Almost all of that change is capital,” he said.

Below are some highlights from the budget.

Utility fund

• Approximately $24 million, which includes $13.6 million in capital expenditures

Coffey said the operating budget didn’t change much in the utilities fund compared to FY 2020-2021. Capital is the bulk of this approximately $24 million appropriation, at $13.6 million. This is due to the myriad of utility projects underway or planned.

Approximately $2.8 million is appropriated in water distribution improvement for completing the water tower on Tuggle Road, visible from Perryville Road, and painting it. Approximately $2.6 million is appropriated for connecting water main from the water tower on Tuggle to the one on Cox Street in Perryville.

There is $350,000 set aside for WTP Lagoon/GAC. Coffey said this is primarily to clear sludge from out of the pond at Henson Park on East Main Street. Coffey said it’s silt, not industrial sludge, and the Danville water treatment plant places it there until they can landfill it.

Coffey said the city gets a lot of questions when they are pulling sludge from the pond because they take a trailer there with equipment in the pond to pull the sludge out. The GAC part of the funding is to change media out of one of the carbon filters in a city building.

The largest portion of utility capital is $6 million toward the sewer, or waste water treatment, plant improvements. Coffey said the total contract on this project is approximately $14 million.

“By the time they get started, it will be late in the year,” he said, so he estimates the city will only spend around $3 million on the project this fiscal year, but $6 million is what has been appropriated.

On June 14 the city commission approved a resolution allowing Mayor Mike Perros to execute terms, conditions and Title IV assurances for the American Rescue Plan, which the city needed to do to receive the $4 million it was eligible for under the act.

Part of that money will go toward utility projects or initiatives as part of the city’s infrastructure. Coffey said this will include $250,000 into the initial investment into an initiative, which will need to be approved by the city commission, to install fiber-optic broadband, perhaps through the city’s existing water lines, to improve broadband access in the area. Plans for this undertaking are still in the works.

Also to be covered by the ARP is the lagoon liner project, sewer rehabilitation and $1 million toward the Spears Creek lift station.

Parks and recreation fund

• Approximately $7.7 million, with about $6 million for park construction

Coffey said with the parks master plan in mind, which identifies under-served communities in town and playgrounds needed, there’s also a recommendation to prioritize what parks and recreation doesn’t offer currently, like a modern aquatic center.

The next phase will be to hire consultants to look at the plan, along with the properties the city now owns, like Michael Smith Park, Jennie Rogers and the fairgrounds, and give some direction on what to do with the properties, and how to bring parks to under-served areas.

In the budget, $6 million has been set aside for parks and facilities construction as capital expenditures. The operating budget for the parks and recreations fund as compared to last year is about the same.

Streetscapes fund

• Approximately $4.3 million

The city has had a streetscapes master plan since around 2007. This dictates what Danville physically was to look like and detailed clearing zones around street corners, establishing ADA compliance, increasing pedestrian safety, how to plant trees, traffic signals and other guidelines.

“This project now finishes up — the $4 million — finishes up the implementation of the 2007 master plan,” Coffey said.

This includes burying utilities on Fourth Street down to Walnut Street, instead of having power lines visible (this has been done on Third Street already), placing granite curbs and curb sidewalk streetlights.

The proposed project limits for completion of streetscape projects includes part of Fourth Street, part of Main Street, and a small section of Third Street. It’s the last step, Coffey said.

“And the commission said to go all the way with it because the cost of borrowing money is so low for us right now,” he said. “It’s actually lower than the rate of inflation for us. So it’s actually like using reserve money at this point for us, financially.”

General fund

• Approximately $29.6 million, $8.3 million of which is capital expenditures

The capital expenditures portion of the general fund includes $6 million for the new Central Fire Station being built next door to City Hall.

Coffey said the city will have surplus because the city has already paid off part of its contract, but $6 million is what has been appropriated for this fiscal year.

The most recent development with the fire station was a resolution passed by the city commission July 12 for change order #4 in the increased amount of approximately $33,137 for lean concrete required to ensure proper installation of foundation footings and to repair an area impacted by an unknown cistern. The amount was calculated using a unit price agreed upon during the bidding process.

Also in the change order is an additional six weeks for tunnel installation between the new station and the existing police department in City Hall, and weather days accumulated. The new substantial completion date is April 11, 2022.

Also in general fund capital expenditure are police capital, fire equipment including a new fire truck, communications equipment and other items.

Staff changes

There will be three new police officers added to the police department’s staff allowances, one dispatcher to communications and three full-time firefighters, converting part-time pay to full-time salary.

Organizational changes part of the 2021-2022 compensation pay plan proposal, which got an approved second reading by the commission July 12, include dissolving the chief financial officer position, which had a pay grade of 32, and instead having a finance director with a pay grade of 30 (the city currently has a job opening for the finance director position), and reclassifying titles in the rest of the finance department along with some pay grades. Coffey said communities a similar size to Danville typically don’t have CFOs, and he said the new titles within the finance department are more congruent with what other communities have and what taxpayers will understand.

Staff organizational changes also include the addition of an electrician, which Coffey said he anticipates will save the city ultimately because it currently often establishes contracts with third-party electricians, the addition of a SCADA Network Administrator, and other changes.