Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Springfield Ranks High as Smart City

Springfield has been ranked fourth overall in an evaluation of medium-sized cities because of high marks for being an efficient, responsible and sustainable city. The evaluation included environmental initiatives, transportation infrastructure, zoning, building codes and waste management programs as well as improving access to open space, green jobs, affordable efficient housing and more. Previously known as the Green Guide, this project was undertaken to create a portrait of the progress that U.S. cities are making to move toward environmental stewardship and sustainability.

To determine which cities exhibit leadership roles as Smarter Cities, information was solicited from 655 cities of different population sizes from all around the country. The responses were combined with existing research from independent sources and then ranked across nine different sustainability criteria. The Natural Resources Defense Council has launched a new website http://www.smartercities.nrdc.org/cities/springfield-il, that present the results of that research along with profiles of the top-ranking cities including Springfield, Illinois.

Friday, July 10, 2009

MAYOR DAVLIN ANNOUNCES PLAN TO BALANCE CITY BUDGET

Mayor Tim Davlin today announced that he has reached agreements with the Police and Fire unions which will result in a plan that could bring the municipal budget into balance, in light of unexpected expense increases and revenue decreases.

The city was facing additional costs of some $7 million, which is attributed to a number of issues including an anticipated $3.3 million decrease in state revenue. Because of those challenges, changes to city spending are being made to further trim city expenses.

“Before I even began to ask union representatives to consider changes, I made some $3.2 million cuts of my own," Davlin said. "Those include a de facto hiring freeze by not filling a significant number of positions, and postponing the hiring of critical positions and trimming a number of line items by delaying major purchases of vehicles, computers and other commodities.”

“That leaves the budget out of balance by $3.8 million. To eliminate this deficit I am going to propose that the City Council redirect $1.2 million in hotel motel tax receipts that had been set aside for infrastructure improvements. I will also ask the council to approve redirecting $500,000 in Fund 94 equipment monies. And, I will ask that the council approve a short term loan of $1.5 million.”

“That leaves a difference of $600,000. I am proposing to divide that equally across all city departments, which will result in everyone, union and non-union employees, taking three (3) furlough days, instead of the eight (8) that had already announced.”