I am proud that in some of the most challenging economic times in the past 20 years, the City continues to make strides in cost containment and best business practices to maintain the quality services residents have come to expect, within a balanced budget. When I was elected to the council in 2009, the city was in the second year of a national recession. The most painful cuts to our budget were in personnel; the city reduced the number of employees by more than 12%. New employees come in under a new Tier 2 benefit structure, and almost all of our hires since 2008 have been filling remaining jobs as employees retire, not newly created jobs.
As City Manager Doug Krieger notes, we have moved past “cautiously optimistic” to “optimistic” when it comes to our budget. In an economy where so many public bodies are in deep fiscal difficulty we have worked hard every year to balance our budget in Naperville. In 2015, the most recent data available, Naperville's car dealerships and gas stations sold $1.3 billion of automobiles and gasoline. That is second only to the city of Chicago, even though we are the fifth largest city by population in the state.
We must remain watchful of the needs for safety and social services for our residents and act to appropriately fund those critical needs. Funds to maintain the level of police, fire and public safety in the community should be a primary concern, as well as budgeting and planning with other agencies to maintain effective emergency services.