Proposed Budget Q & A

Q & A Regarding Proposed 2019 Budget
Posted on 11/07/2018

As part of the Village’s 2019 Budget Process, the Village invited residents to submit questions regarding the proposed budget and indicated those questions and answers would be posted online by November 8. 

Below are the questions received and responses from the Village. The Village Board’s review of the proposed 2019 Budget will begin Wednesday, November 14 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 Thursday, November 15 at 7 p.m. and if needed, a third meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 20. All meetings will be held at 7 p.m. in the Board Room.

Proposed Budget Questions & Answers

1. Question:  It seems this is an increase of 4.5% when you take into account the Police Station purchase.  It also seems like the City isn’t making debt reduction a priority.  With the current low-interest rate environment not lasting forever and the State’s unfunded pension issues, it seems necessary to tighten the Village’s belt to reduce the overall debt for the community.

Answer: The Village’s total budget includes operating expenditures and capital expenses for infrastructure projects.  The Village’s General Fund is its key operating fund covering Police, Fire, Public Works, Health, Building, Planning and other services.  The Proposed 2019 Budget for the General Fund is projected to increase by 1.7% over the prior year’s budget.

On the other hand, the Village’s capital budget can vary significantly from year to year.  With the completion of the Police Station in 2018, the capital budget is decreasing significantly.  Adequately funding public infrastructure has been a topic of national conversation, as many States and localities have not budgeted sufficient funds to maintain their streets, bridges, water and sewer systems, buildings, and other public infrastructure.  Deferral of needed infrastructure maintenance activities would only serve to increase overall costs over the long-term.  For this reason the Village has continued to take an aggressive approach to allocating monies for the repair and replacement of the Village’s infrastructure.

As part of a long-term planning process, the Village has taken a multi-year approach to maintaining a level debt service.  There are always more capital projects that could be undertaken, but by planning new bond sales after existing debt matures, the Village has been able to keep its debt service levy at the same level from year to year, which helps avoid large swings in the Village’s property tax levy.  The Proposed 2019 Budget includes the continuation of improvements to the Village’s street program, a multi-year plan to implement storm water control projects, and ongoing improvements toward the water main replacement program.

2. Question:  What would the levy be if the additional $500,000 in water main work to take place during the reconstruction of Yale and Beverly was not included, or is the levy not affected since it’s a loan from the storm water control fund?

Answer:  The levy is unaffected by the additional $500,000 water main work. The Storm Water Control and Water & Sewer Funds’ revenues are based on user fees.  These funds are not tax supported.

3. Question: Please provide more information about the infrastructure lobbyist.  Who would this be, who else do they lobby for, what is their success rate, and any similar information.

Answer:  There has been no decision on the proposed lobbyist. There has been word that a State capital bill may be developed. If this occurs, municipalities will be competing for dollars. Hiring a lobbyist on a short term basis during the formulation of the capital bill to assist in getting funding for Village projects is a possible option.  In the event the Village Board approves this expense, staff would provide detailed information on a lobbyist to the Board at that time.

4. Question:  On page XIV, Fire Department Operational Equipment, the costs of the SCBA units don’t seem to add up.  If the Village is spending $373,000 of the $455,000, what is the reason for the difference of $82,000?  Is that money going towards other equipment?  It’s not clear from the information.

Answer:  You can find the additional details for Capital Projects Fund Fire Operational Equipment expenditures on page 263 of the 2019 Proposed Budget; in addition to the SCBA units this line item includes a defibrillator & communications package ($38,000), AED replacements ($12,000), equipment for a new squad car ($25,000), and lights and equipment for a staff vehicle ($7,000).  This information will be added to Page XIV of the Final 2019 Budget to provide better clarity.