What's in Des Plaines' new budget: cash for flood prevention, police station expansion

Cash for flood-prevention projects and a long-delayed expansion of the city's police station are included in Des Plaines' newly approved municipal budget for 2022.

So is money for a fire station renovation, street repairs and other efforts.

The city council on Monday night unanimously approved a roughly $171.2 million budget. The new fiscal year starts Jan. 1.

Officials expect to spend that money on construction projects, salaries and other items. The total is up about $7.2 million from the current year's $164 million budget, a bump of about 4.4%.

Expenses are projected to rise because the city is planning about $7.8 million in flood-control projects that will be partially funded with cash from the American Rescue Plan Act, said Dorothy Wisniewski, Des Plaines' assistant city manager and finance director.

New storm sewers and culverts will be installed in two neighborhoods as part of the effort.

In addition to the stormwater projects, the budget includes:

• $7.8 million for street improvements.

• $825,000 for the renovation and remodeling of Fire Station No. 61, which is at 405 S. River Road.

• $7.1 million for a two-story addition on the west side of the police station.

That last project was authorized in 2020 but was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. New jail cells, an area for patrol officers, a roll call room and other amenities are planned.

On the other side of the ledger, officials expect to collect nearly $139.9 million next year from taxes, fees and other sources. That's down about $4.8 million from the current year's $14.7 million budgeted total, a roughly 3.3% decrease.

Revenues are projected to decrease in 2022 in part because a special taxing district in the city is being retired, Wisniewski said. Additionally, the city no longer is getting millions in revenue for trash collection because it started using an independent vendor this year, she said.

The pandemic has hurt revenue, too, Wisniewski said. City officials cut spending in 2021 as a result, she said, and those penny-pinching efforts are continuing.

"The 2022 budget remains below the pre-pandemic 2020 budget level," Wisniewski said.

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