KANKAKEE — On final reading, the Kankakee City Council approved its annual budget with a revenue of $31,635,262 in the general fund for the fiscal year ending on April 30, 2022.

The budget, which includes expenses of $31,303,879 and a surplus of $331,383, was adopted by a 13-0 vote at Monday’s City Council meeting in the Donald E. Green Public Safety Center.

City Comptroller Elizabeth Kubal said before the vote that there are three major revenue highlights in the budget.

“The first highlight is the restoration of revenues that flow from the state, which did see some decrease during COVID,” she said. “... We are, in this budget, restoring those to the level which will trend out in a normal year. That equals about $625,000 that includes such things as personal property replacement tax, sales tax, income tax — items of that sort. Property tax losses are also increased this year for the levy that the council passed last December at $1,477,219, higher than the previous year.

“The second main highlight is the increase in the ambulance fees. They are trending very strong. ... We are adding $700,000 to the budget on the revenue line for the ambulance fees. The third highlight, as the mayor referred to, is the ARPA revenue from the American Rescue Plan Act that will be utilized within the federal guidelines for the general fund. These funds will be used to provide for revenue restoration from decrease revenues that apply. That equals about $1 million.”

On the expenses end of the budget, Kubal said it includes an increase in salaries for both union and employees paid through the general fund. There are also increases in insurances, including workers compensation, liability and health.

In addition, Kubal and Mayor Chris Curtis said there is increased support for the police and fire departments with additional hires and resources from the numbers that they’re at today. Also included in the budget were expenses totaling $4.8 million for the police pension.

“There’s also little money put in here to help with the HR department because overseeing some of these funds that we’re going to have to allocate through comptroller’s office,” Curtis said.

Before the meeting a budget hearing was held to allow for public comment which there was none. Alderman Mike O’Brien, budget committee chairman, said the committee met one final time last week to hammer out the details.

“We made some final adjustments,” he said.

Kubal said the city had two challenging budgets in back-to-back fiscal years because of COVID.

“One because we had the unknown because of a lack revenues, and now we’ve been given new revenues,” she said. “I’m very proud of this budget and all components it possesses. And most important the resources that are included within this budget to help the residents of the city of Kankakee.”

Associate Editor

Chris Breach is the Associate Editor of The Daily Journal and the editor of the business section. A graduate of Indiana University, Breach has more than 25 years experience in newspapers. He can be reached at cbreach@daily-journal.com.