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Elgin council to discuss dwindling casino cash, and how to best spend it

Updated: December 14, 2012 6:15AM

ELGIN — City budget discussions will continue Wednesday evening when staff and council members review what’s being proposed for revenues from Elgin’s share of Grand Victoria casino revenue and the lease for the riverboat, and the Central Area TIF fund.

According to the online version of the city’s budget, while casino money will fund 63 projects in 2013, that source of funding has seen a dramatic decrease since the recession and the opening of the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines during the summer of 2011.

The online document states that in 2008, the city took in $26.8 million in combined lease and revenue proceeds from the Grand Victoria, with that take estimated to be only $14.5 million this year and $13.6 million projected for 2013.

Fire equipment

New among the 2013 projects to be paid for with casino funds are several for the fire department. They include:

$460,000 to buy two replacement ambulances.

$45,000 to apply a non-skid surface to fire station bay floors.

$90,000 to replace cardiac monitors in ambulances.

$40,000 to replace hoses.

$900,000 for a multipurpose fire vehicle.

Other new projects are to include spending $110,000 in 2013 for five signs to welcome people to Elgin; $30,000 for an emergency vehicle preemption system for traffic signals in proximity to Sherman Hospital along Randall Road; $225,000 for roof replacement to city facilities; $150,000 for police shooting range repairs; and $250,000 in 2013 to replace trees on city land, particularly those ravaged by the emerald ash borer.

According to the online document, 2013 expenditures totalling $16,204,500 are being budgeted from the Central Area Tax Increment Financing fund, which was established in 2002 and is the largest of three TIF zones in the city (Bluff City and Route 20 being the others).

A new strategic initiative for 2013 is set to include spending $400,000 in Central Area TIF money for a Kimball Street hydroelectric dam feasibility study. And an initiative tied to a project already in place would use $325,000 from the Central Area TIF fund for the engineering phase of State Street (Route 31) improvements.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association is set to get $135,000 in TIF money in 2013 through 2015 as the city and the DNA look to establish a special services area to fund the group past that.

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