Champaign budget up for approval Tuesday

CHAMPAIGN — City council members this week could approve the next fiscal year's budget, a spending plan that does not include a whole lot of significant changes from last year.

The new fiscal year starts on July 1, and council members have been hearing about the proposed budget for weeks. They could give final approval when they meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

Officials expect they will still need to chop a few hundred thousand dollars in spending, but that is relatively manageable after cutting millions in spending from the budget in previous years, budgeters have said.

Highlights of the proposed budget include the following:

— An estimated 2.2 percent jump in sales-tax revenue, the city's biggest revenue source, by the end of this fiscal year and another 2.8 percent increase in the next budget year.

— Capital improvements, such as road, sewer and library upgrades, will get a $1 million bump after officials spent years borrowing from the fund to pay for general operating expenses.

— A $2.8 million project to improve Windsor Road on either side of Interstate 57 will be made possible by a new 4-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax, which became effective this May.

In other business, the council is scheduled to vote on settlements with three people:

— $50,000 to Gary McFarland of Champaign to settle a claim involving his arrest on Oct. 1, 2011.

— $45,000 to Brandon Ward of Champaign to settle a claim involving his arrest on June 5, 2011.

— $42,000 to Barbara Griffiths for injuries she received when she slipped and fell at the entrance to a fire station at 2315 W. John St. on Dec. 4, 2008.

Griffiths' claim is pending in court and Ward and McFarland's claims have yet to be filed.

Ward's case prompted public scrutiny of the Champaign Police Department after video of his arrest for resisting a police officer surfaced.

Having been originally stopped for jaywalking, Ward was pepper-sprayed by Officer Patrick Simons after Simons brought a discontented Ward back to the squad car and later grabbed Ward's neck while he was in the back seat.

Charges against Ward were dropped by State's Attorney Julia Rietz after Ward's lawyer complained that his client was subjected to pepper spray for resisting arrest.

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Jsmith68 wrote on June 04, 2012 at 9:06 am

You mean Detective Simons.  I usually support our police department.  But he is promoted???? And this was with Chief Cobb's approval.  We should be questioning that.  

Robert DeAtley wrote on June 04, 2012 at 9:06 am

There is a typo in this article.  Windsor Road does not cross I-74.  Rather, it crosses I-57.

Speakerman11 wrote on June 04, 2012 at 9:06 am

So, let me get this straight....


I can defy authority, kick and scream, have to be maced inorder to settle down and comply with an officers direction and still act like a total buffoon, and my reward is a nice little $45K? NIIIICE!! 

rsp wrote on June 07, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I've watched the video several times and there wasn't any kicking on it. He didn't have to be maced. If the officer had tried he might have found that out. Maybe if he had both hands free instead of carrying a crowd-control sized can of mace to deal with a jay-walker he could have exercized better control.

But he followed him for three blocks before he jay-walked. He talked about him repeatedly on the video. He was targeting him, waiting for him to do something, anything he could arrest him for, because he didn't like him. If he didn't jay-walk he would have found something else. And it's a shame that some people can't see that.

Local Yocal wrote on June 04, 2012 at 11:06 am
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So let me get this straight-er....according to the videotape (and not just relying on our imaginations about black males)...

...police officers can follow citizens on foot for 3 blocks with a can of pepper spray without probable cause...a police officer can ignore numerous caucasion jaywalkers on campus and then decide to selectively enforce a jaywalking violation against African-Americans ...an officer can use his squad car like a weapon and drive his squad car AT pedestrians over a jaywalking violation....an officer can exit his car with a crowd-control size cannister of pepper spray to enforce a jaywalking violation...an officer can go hands-on without explanation for a non-arrestable offense....an officer can use painful force without warning against a physically cooperating subject just because the citizen verbally demands to know the reasons why the officer is detaining him....an officer can randomly pepper spray onlookers to an apprehension....an officer can slam a citizen's head against the hood of a squad car AFTER the citizen has been handcuffed in order to get the citizen to "shut the f--- up"....an officer can half-heartedly read a citizen his Miranda Rights after being placed under arrest,...an officer can shove a handcuffed citizen by the throat to "obtain an I.D."...an officer can slam a citizen's head against the concrete while the citizen is lying on the concrete in handcuffs just because the citizen demands to know why he was attacked in the neck....and officers can write police reports that accuse a citizen of felony resisting arrest.....

and all that...

...is financially equivalent to a lady falling on the ice in front of a fire station? You have got to be kidding. Looks like the government got off easy on this one and a classic example of how racial profiling by police and police thuggery is supported and protected in Champaign.

serf wrote on June 04, 2012 at 1:06 pm

right on cue :)

Mark Taylor wrote on June 04, 2012 at 3:06 pm

That's right. It's so tedious when people insist on describing what really happened instead of letting people like us imagine some backsassing kid disrespecting a cop's authoritah.

We shouldn't have to be subjected to remembering what actually happened, huh?

Sid Saltfork wrote on June 04, 2012 at 4:06 pm

right on cue :)

Mark Taylor wrote on June 04, 2012 at 4:06 pm

No, Sid. I agree with you -- I sure do hate it when the dang trolls accurately describe so called police misconduct. So annoying, isn't it? It's so much more comfortable to live in a fantasy about those people just getting what they deserve, isn't it?

I mean, who in the dang heck do they think they are with their 'facts,' 'accuracy' and 'reality'? I bet their connected somehow to the dang university -- that's enough to hate them right there, isn't it?

Sid Saltfork wrote on June 04, 2012 at 8:06 pm

You watch too much Steven Colbert.  Some readers don't understand your real opinions in your comments.  By the way; the mayor is connected to the university; but so are thousands of other people in the area.  It is sort of like the degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Mark Taylor wrote on June 06, 2012 at 10:06 am

I never said anything about the mayor, but ok, sure. I was referring to the fact that the original commentator got all elitist and cited facts and reality rather than letting us live in our comfortable fantasy world. Just like those dang university professors and grad students you and I hate so much, dang them.