Des Plaines' $164 million budget reflects spending, revenue cuts due to COVID-19

  • The Des Plaines Theatre marquee read "Save Me" earlier this year. The city's budget for the 2021 fiscal year includes $1.5 million for the facility's renovation.

    The Des Plaines Theatre marquee read "Save Me" earlier this year. The city's budget for the 2021 fiscal year includes $1.5 million for the facility's renovation. Daily Herald File Photo

  • Rivers Casino has been ordered closed by the state because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means less gambling and tax revenue for Des Plaines.

    Rivers Casino has been ordered closed by the state because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means less gambling and tax revenue for Des Plaines. Courtesy of Rivers Casino

 
 
Updated 12/8/2020 7:50 PM

Des Plaines' new $164 million annual budget reflects spending and revenue cuts prompted by the COVID-19 crisis, officials said.

The city council unanimously approved the financial plan Monday night. The new fiscal year starts Jan. 1.

 

The spending plan is about $8.1 million leaner than the current year's estimated $172.1 million budget. That's a decrease of about 4.7%.

To reduce spending, the city instituted a hiring freeze for open positions. The city also eliminated 11 positions through an early retirement incentive program launched earlier this year, Assistant City Manager Dorothy Wisniewski said.

Some projects have been delayed, too. But others are moving forward and are included in the budget.

For example, the new budget sets aside:

• $6.5 million to buy homes in flood-prone areas as part of an ongoing program benefiting from federal, state and regional funds.

• $1.5 million to complete the Des Plaines Theatre renovation.

• $4.3 million for a bicycle and pedestrian path along Rand Road between Central Road and Elk Boulevard.

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• $8 million for the reconstruction of a parking garage near city hall, a project with an estimated $15.3 million total cost.

Revenues from taxes, fees and other sources are expected to drop to $144.7 million in the 2021 fiscal year from about $145.5 million, officials said. That's a decrease of less than 1%.

As is the case in many communities, the state's orders to cease or reduce in-house restaurant service has hurt Des Plaines' tax stream. The state's recent order to temporarily close Rivers Casino for the second time this year is a concern for the city, too.

Gambling revenue already was down this year because of the original shutdown, which lasted from mid-March through June, officials said. Operating hours and capacity limits subsequently were reduced, too.

During the council's discussion of the budget Monday night, Mayor Matthew Bogusz noted the city doesn't fund core services or staff salaries with casino revenue. It's used only to fund capital projects and pay off debt.

Because Des Plaines delays budgeting gambling revenue for two years to account for any reductions, that decrease will be felt more in the 2022 budget.

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