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Algonquin planning balanced budget

Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

ALGONQUIN – Village officials expect expenses and revenue to increase by 3 percent under a spending plan for fiscal 2013-14, which begins May 1.

The village plans for a balanced $19 million budget in its operating funds. It includes the same level of service, no new taxes, no new personnel and a decreased property-tax levy.

The village expects a 3 percent increase in sales-tax receipts for the fiscal year, and a 3 percent increase in income-tax transfers from the state.

“Coming out of the recession, staff ... made some difficult choices right away, and we were able to come out strong,” Mike Kumbera, assistant to the village manager, said. “We utilized technology to become more efficient, [and] work with our neighboring communities, overlapping jurisdictions and intergovernmental agreements.”

An increase in income-tax receipts is a sign of an improving economy, Kumbera said.

The budget does include 12 payments from the state for income-tax payments. However, the state is three months behind.

“We’ll make any changes necessary depending on what’s dealt to us,” Kumbera said.

Expenses, however, are expected to increase an average of 3 percent.

The general fund budget has room for salary increases of 2.5 percent for employees who are not covered by a collective bargaining contract.

“In April, the Village Board will be considering whether there will be any increases to the merit compensation plan,” retiring Village Manager Bill Ganek wrote in a memo to trustees.

In the budget plan, the village wants to increase recreational programs at Historic Village Hall. If there is low enrollment, then the classes would be canceled, Kumbera said.

“We found this is consistent with the downtown planning study, which was recently approved, to increase the amount of activity in the downtown area,” Kumbera said. “Drop kids off, shop downtown, go out to a restaurant. We’re trying to offer a little more alternatives for families.”

In the police department, the village plans to eliminate a vacant community service officer position; the person who held that position is filling a patrol officer position created in the current fiscal year.

The village plans to replace two squad cars at an estimated cost of $44,000 and lease equipment for a new car video recording system. The police department can buy the video equipment after the five-year lease.

Village staffers plan to spend $108,500 on park upgrades this year, including $77,000 to replace the Riverfront Park arbor and $30,000 for a partial path replacement at James B. Wood Park.

The parks and forestry department plans to spend $36,700 on tree planting, including $29,000 for tree replacements to combat emerald ash borers. The village also hopes to receive a $20,000 grant to replace additional trees.

The village expects vehicle maintenance for the community development department and public works department to increase.

“As the vehicle fleet ages, the maintenance costs ... do tend to increase as well,” Kumbera said.

The village is trying to decrease its vehicle count and proposes to buy two hooklift trucks that have more flexibility in what they can be used for – such as a dump truck or a flatbed – and phase out four other trucks.

“It gives us an asset that can be used year round,” Kumbera said. “That is one way we’re trying to increase utilization and lower the maintenance costs, by having less vehicles in our fleet.”

As part of the $39 million overall budget, village officials plan $12 million of infrastructure work in the next fiscal year. It plans $2.5 million in water and sewer improvements, including water main replacement in the Indian Grove subdivision, and water and sewer installation for the Western Bypass.

“Staff feels this proposed budget attempts to implement many of the goals established by the Village Board,” Ganek wrote. “The projected revenues and expenditures are conservative, yet realistic, and the implementation of the budget is results-based for effective and efficient services for our residents.”

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