2024 Proposed Budget and Questions
The Village’s proposed 2024 Budget reflects a 0% property tax levy increase, which meets the Village Board’s #2 Strategic Priority to “Continue to maintain good fiscal stewardship of Village resources ensuring ethical and efficient financial decision making on behalf of taxpayers.” The $231.7 million budget includes an increase of 4.7%, or $10.4 million, from last year’s total amended budgeted expenditures for all of the Village’s operating, capital and other funds. The Village’s fiscal year runs from January 1, 2024 through December 31, 2024.
The proposed 2024 Budget plans continued investment in the Village’s Stormwater System including Forrest Ave Stormwater Improvements ($1,650,000), ongoing Backyard Drainage Improvements ($300,000), and the Storm Sewer Rehabilitation/Replacement Program ($500,000).
The Budget also continues to focus on maintaining our roads and water systems with funding included for various capital projects including:
- Street Program ($5,700,000 – Capital Projects Fund) – This is an ongoing program to resurface or rehabilitate existing deteriorated street pavement and curbs.
- Roof Maintenance Program ($3,240,000 – Capital Projects Fund) – The Public Works Department is exploring the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Public Works Facility. In order to facilitate this potential installation, what was previously projected to be a two-year project would need to be performed in one year.
- Watermain Replacement Program ($4,100,000 – Water & Sewer Fund) – This is an ongoing project to replacement aging watermain infrastructure. The proposed $4,100,000 annual expenditure is enough to replace an industry standard of 1% of the Village’s overall watermains.
- Street Rehabilitation Program ($3,800,000 – MFT Fund) – This is an ongoing street rehabilitation program consisting of the reconstruction of significantly deteriorated street pavement, curbs, and concrete panels.
Ask Questions About Proposed Budget
We invited residents to review our proposed 2024 Budget, which represents the Village’s plan for allocating its resources. Answers to all questions received are below.
Questions and Answers from the Community Regarding Budget as of Nov. 9, 2023
- Question: Several dead trees and empty spots have remained on Dunton in downtown for several years now. When I asked about replacing them, I [was told] it would be done when budget allows. However, other trees in the village were replaced. When will trees be replaced in dead spots downtown?
Answer: Staff has been evaluating the current tree locations and grates over the past few years as we learn more about the new ADA compliance requirements. The tree at the Dunton mid-block crosswalk will be removed and not replaced as it interferes with the new walk. This year we replaced all the missing trees on Vail and next year we will replace all the missing trees (besides the aforementioned one) next year.
- Question: Transportation in our town is almost non-existent. Wheeling Township Bus service is great! But it only runs Monday through Friday, 9 to 3:30 PM. Nothing in the evenings or weekends. Our wonderful 696 Pace Bus was discontinued. It ran [until approximately] 8 PM Monday through Friday. Nothing on the weekends. I can't afford Uber or Lyft. The 303 taxi isn't reliable. I waited one afternoon for over an hour, spoke to many dispatchers and finally was told to find another ride to my medical appointment! I reserved the bus the day before. My doctor left for the day. I've attended meetings, put together agendas, talked to the Senator's staff, nothing changes. Someone needs to look into this problem. We pay our taxes, we contribute to the community yet we are being ignored.
Answer: The Village is not a provider of public transportation services, but we do understand the need for these services. To address the transportation needs of our residents, the Senior Citizens Commission and the Commission for Citizens with Disabilities held a joint meeting on August 30, 2023 at the Senior Center in which Pace, RTA, Metra, and Elk Grove Township Dial-a-Ride were present. All of the transportation providers advised their challenges of lower ridership, lack of drivers, and reduced funding. Providers received American Recovery Act funds which cease at the end of 2024. Pace is reporting a dramatic deficit for their future programs. The commissions will be approving the minutes from the meeting this month and plan to provide a summary of recommendations to the Board. The Senior Citizens Commission Age-Friendly Transportation Sub Committee is meeting on November 20 at 1 PM at the Senior Center to create an action plan on the recommendations. Additionally, The Health & Human Services Department does oversee a Taxi Subsidy program for eligible residents, but this been met with mixed results. Staff and Commissioners will continue to seek programs and funding to make transportation accessible to residents who are unable to drive.
- Question: The general fund balance is predicted to be 44% of fund expenditures at the end of 2024, however the maximum amount allowed is 40%. Why don't we budget to the 40% ratio?
Answer: Our current projection for the end of 2024 does show a fund balance of over 40%. However, actual revenues and expenditures may come in different than projected. In March of each year, Finance Staff reviews the actual General Fund balance position for the prior year end. If, as has been the case for the past couple years, the fund balance exceeds 40%, Staff has proposed that the Village Board authorize transferring these excess funds to improve the funded position of the Village’s capital and pension funds.
- Question: In the Water and Sewer Fund, $5 million was transferred in in 2024. Is that part of the $18 million that was moved from the Capital Projects Fund?
Answer: That is correct, as noted on page vi of the Transmittal Letter, the Village uses a planned debt schedule, which replaces retiring debt every five-years with a new bond opportunity. In 2024, a bond issue that will generate approximately $18 million in proceeds is scheduled to cover the cost of the Village’s street and sidewalk programs in the Capital Projects Fund over the next three years. Due to other available resources in this fund, $18 million is budgeted to be transferred-out. $5 million is allocated to the Water & Sewer Fund, as part of the Village’s plan to maintain a water main replacement program of at least $4 million, or the industry standard of 1% of our water main system on an annual basis. $11 million of the transfer-out is planned to be allocated to the Lead Service Line Replacement Fund, and the remaining $2 million balance is allocated to the Municipal Parking Fund.
- Question: Page vii. This has to do with Truth in Taxation. It appears that the tax abatement resulted in a higher 2023 tax levy, meaning that it’s really not 0%. Would you please explain the concept?
Answer: Based on a discussion the Village Board had in March 2023, going forward the amount levied by the Board each December will be compared to the prior year levy amount. In the past, we compared the actual extended levy which included a 1% loss and cost amount applied by Cook County. Each year the Village receives 1-2% less than the amount levied due to tax appeals and other tax adjustments. In lieu of comparing the extended levy, the Village decided to compare the Village Board approved levy from year to year, and also changed the loss and cost amount applied by the County to 2% in order to ensure that the full levy amount is received. The 2022 and 2023 levy are different than normal, due to the Village’s first tax abatement in memory of $1.6 million, as a result of a sizeable General Fund surplus in 2022. This one-time abatement was approved by the Board in March 2023, but it applied to the 2022 levy payable in 2023. However, for Truth-In-Taxation reporting purposes, the Village must use the actual extended levy of the prior year when comparing the current year levy. The 2022 extended levy includes the tax abatement and the loss and cost amounts. In a year without a tax abatement and no levy increase, the prior year extended levy would be 2% less than the current levy due to the loss and cost amount. The table below shows the 2022 levy as it was passed, the 2022 extended levy, and the proposed 2023 levy.
Image updated 11/17/2023
- Question: Page xv. This has to do with the solar panels on the Public Works facility, which I do support. Has the energy cost savings been calculated? What is the break-even point?
Answer: Based on a preliminary proposal Public Works has received, it is estimated that the system will produce enough power to offset about 86% of the facility’s energy consumption. The estimated payback period is about 6.4 years.
- Question: 7. This is the property tax bill pie chart, which always show District 25 for the elementary district. The overall portion for education is 68%, but does this differ if the elementary district is 21 or 59, for example?
Answer: Yes, this differs based on what school district the property is located. For the example provided, we chose AHSD 25 because that represents most residents. If we used a bill for a resident in CCSD 21 boundaries, 72% of their tax bill would go to the school districts. If we used a bill for a resident in CCSD 59 boundaries, 66% of their tax bill would go to the school districts.
- Question: For the Finance Performance Measures, DEI #7 (page 74), is it possible for you to report the total dollar amount of the bids? How much the 19 bids totaled and how much the one MBE bid totaled? How much we paid to vendors in total and how much we paid to the 16 MBE and WBE vendors?
Answer: For formal bids in 2022, there was one DEI award of $180K out of the total $19M in formal bid awards. For the Treasurer’s report results, $656K in DEI vendor expenses were reported out of $61.7M in vendor expenses for accounts payable vendors over $2,500. Finance will add these metrics to the Performance Measures in the final 2024 Adopted Budget.
Budget Meetings with the Village Board: November 13th and November 15th
The Village Board’s review of the proposed 2024 Budget will begin Monday, November 13 at 7 p.m. in the Board Room located on the third floor of Village Hall, 33 S. Arlington Heights Road. A second meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 15 at 7 p.m. and if needed, a third meeting will be held on Thursday, November 16. All meetings will be held at 7 p.m. in the Board Room.
Click here to review Budget Variances by Department (a document listing and explaining budget variances by Department for the proposed 2024 Budget.)