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Normal’s financial outlook remains on positive path after pandemic recovery

by Paul Morgan

The town of Normal, Illinois, is experiencing strong economic growth following its recovery from the pandemic. The town’s finance chief, Andrew Huhn, reported that the town’s fund balances are near $79 million, with current assets exceeding $108 million and current liabilities just under $30 million. Huhn stated that the town is seeing stable revenue sources continue to grow, contributing to its positive fiscal position.

The annual financial conditions report presented by Huhn serves as a wrap-up of the past fiscal year and provides important information for the town council as they enter the budget process. The report covers a range of indicators, including community factors, revenue and expenditures, debt service, fund balances, and financial strategies.

One area of notable growth for the town is in the equalized assessed value (EAV) of residential property. Workforce growth and a housing shortage have contributed to an increase in EAV revenue, with projections suggesting a significant 21% increase in 2023. The town has also seen an increase in sales tax revenue, driven by post-pandemic spending and a growing workforce.

In addition to the financial report, the town council made several decisions during their meeting. They voted to continue using automatic license plate reader (ALPR) cameras in policing, approved the modernization of payment systems for Uptown’s parking decks, and hired a local firm to facilitate a sustainability-focused update of Vision 2050, the town’s long-term plan.

The council also received a report on the town’s latest audit, which confirmed that all financial materials were in order and described the year as positive for the town. They approved a contract with Georgia-based Flock Safety for the continued use of ALPR cameras, waived the formal bidding process. The council also voted for The Hile Group to facilitate the update of Vision 2050 with a focus on sustainability, incorporating public input through focus groups, stakeholder engagement, and a public survey.

Overall, the town of Normal is in a strong financial position, with continued economic growth and a positive outlook for the future. The town’s fiscal responsibility and strategic planning have contributed to its success, and the ongoing efforts to update long-term plans and invest in modernization will help ensure continued growth and sustainability.

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