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McHenry approves balanced budget

Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 4:40 p.m. CDT

McHENRY – Road improvements, a boat ramp and improvements to the 22-year-old McHenry Municipal Center are among some of the projects laid out in the balanced city budget approved Monday evening.

The McHenry City Council voted 6 to 0 with one alderwoman absent on the $38.6 million budget, an increase of 3.94 percent over last year.

There was little discussion on the budget, which unanimously passed the Finance Committee earlier this month, City Administrator Derik Morefield said.

One alderman clarified that the $400,000 set aside for the city's street resurfacing program was separate from the other dollars the city has committed to other street improvements, including the extension of Knox Drive and improvements to McCullom Lake Road, Bull Valley Road and the intersection of Routes 120 and 31.

The resurfacing will target about 2 miles of McHenry's roughest roads and will be the first time the city has funded a separate streets program since fiscal 2011-12.

Despite including other big ticket items, much of the budget's increase, particularly in the city's $18.9 million general fund budget, is slated for employee raises and increased health insurance and retirement costs, Morefield said. 

All city employees received step increases, which are laid out in the various salary schedules for union and non-union employees.

Non-union employees haven't taken a step in four years and received cost-of-living increases that averaged out to 1.3 percent, Morefield said.

Next year the city will switch to a merit-based system instead of a salary schedule for its 40 non-union employees, he said.

The contracts for one of the three unions – the one that represents police dispatchers, community service officers and records clerks – expires at the end of April and is still being negotiated, but the budget includes an estimated 2 percent cost-of-living increase for all union members on top of their step increase.

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