Woodstock City Council approves $29.5 million budget

Construction a focus of Woodstock’s plan

WOODSTOCK – The City Council on Tuesday approved Woodstock's $29.5 million budget, a plan for fiscal 2014-15 that takes advantage of a favorable market for construction, City Manager Roscoe Stelford has said.

Council members unanimously voted in the budget, which is balanced, under the council's consent agenda Tuesday night. The council held a public hearing on the budget earlier this month and a budget workshop Friday.

Officials have included a 26 percent increase in capital outlay, the biggest increase of any category. In all, the city has budgeted $3.9 million for such projects.

Neither the public hearing nor council workshop produced amendments to the 972-page document. Stelford said council members suggested possible additions on Friday, but that such changes need to be further discussed before funds are set aside.

"We need to explore that, flesh that out more with council, see what they're thinking about and how much it will cost," Stelford said. "And I need to sit down with the finance director and we have to see how we can pay for those things going forward. [And if] we have room in the budget."

Stelford said some talks centered around providing funding toward further marketing the city for business growth. The city has already included plans for a new marketing website geared toward businesses in the year's budget plans.

The budget also provides funds for continued work on the Old Courthouse, including roof and window construction.

And it hints at a possible partnership between the city and the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District to help with enforcement of city building codes. Woodstock tenants came forward in the fall to voice their concerns about a system they felt left them open to landlord abuse and neglect.

After Tuesday's meeting, Councilman Mike Turner stressed the importance of the budget document as a tool to set the priorities of the city staff and City Council.

"It maybe doesn't pop up as much in the public's mind," he said. "But if the public wants to learn more about what the city of Woodstock is doing – or what the county's doing, or the state's doing – [it can] see where they are spending money. See where they collect it and see where they spend it."

Visit www.woodstockil.gov and click "FY2014/2015 Budget" on the left of the screen to view the city's budget in full.