BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Bloomington city leaders should expect a budget increase for upcoming fiscal year according to city staff.

Monday, finance leaders with the city presented the council with the first reading of next year’s budget.

Bloomington finance leaders project a $269 million budget in the fiscal year 2023–that’s up 7% from FY 2022. There’s an increase also projected in the city’s general fund at $122 million –up 12% from last year.

Some council members including Ward 5’s Nick Becker voiced their concerns about an increased budget.

City staff explained some of the increases are due to funds that are non-recurring including American Rescue Act money and the library expansion project.

Overall, the city will spend $4 million less on capital projects, or $56 million in the proposed budget.

Staff said a major highlight of the 45-minute presentation was the city no longer leasing the purchases of new equipment–such as snowplows. Instead, the city will pay for them with cash, which is estimated to cost the city $4.9 million in FY 2023.

Ward 4’s Julie Emig said it seems to be beneficial in the long run.

“Initially it does seem like a huge increase, but when you look at the story around it, that ultimately will save money in the end by purchasing equipment that we own instead of rent; that our leases right now are still continuing but will run out,” Emig said.

Council will get two more updates next month, a public hearing in March, and then the council will be asked to approve the final budget in April.