Naperville delaying $24.9 million in spending to offset pandemic losses
The city of Naperville is shaving nearly $25 million off its 2020 budget in the wake of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The spending cut of $24,974,860 comes from putting off a list of 24 projects that had been included in the city's capital improvement plan, some of them halted while in progress and others delayed before they could start.
City Manager Doug Krieger said some of the projects were selected to be postponed because they're considered "nice-to-haves" and aren't expected to cost significantly more to be completed in future years. One major project, a $2.6 million plan to improve downtown streetscapes, was included on the list for deferment because "the downtown merchants did not want to proceed" with it in light of the pandemic, he said.
The moves will help the city offset anticipated declines in revenue sources -- such as sales tax, food and beverage tax and motor fuel tax -- as residents and businesses continue to follow the stay-at-home order.
Before the pandemic hit home in mid-March, Krieger said, the city was off to a good financial start, with tax receipts in January and February exceeding expectations.
"March came, and obviously some very significant changes were made, specifically to our sales taxes," Krieger said.
Other work that will not take place this year includes $9 million in water meter-reading technology upgrades, a $7 million road widening project on North Aurora Road and $1.1 million of work toward a park at 430 S. Washington St. to be built in conjunction with North Central College, as well as smaller projects such as LED lighting conversion, tree planting, electric vehicle charging stations, flooring replacements and conference room IT and electric upgrades.
Council members also deliberated putting off spending on two other projects not on the list to be delayed. But they decided to approve the replacement of two vehicles for $271,292 and the installation of an upgraded audiovisual system in the council chambers for $604,798.
The finance department plans to begin presenting monthly financial reports on the effects of the pandemic at the council's second meeting of the month, starting May 19.
Council members also encouraged Krieger to take an active role in seeking federal grant funding available through DuPage and Will counties to help offset some of the city's losses because of the pandemic.