FOX LAKE – Despite being pushed for by both candidates ahead of the April election, the budget approved this week did not contain the funding for a economic development director.
While nobody seems to know who is responsible for its exclusion, Village President-elect Donny Schmit said the position – along with resurrecting the bus for people 65 years and older, those with disabilities, and those who meet the low-income requirement – will be added to the budget after the three newly elected trustees take their seats.
Capital improvements to the sewer and water system and possible rate increases also will be taken up later this year, said Trustee Greg Murrey, who oversees that department.
Outgoing Village President Ed Bender said he didn't take the funding for the economic development director out of the budget, adding that it was Schmit's responsibility as the trustee who oversees the building department to make sure it was there.
Schmit said he had brought it up during the budgeting process and when he had received the final draft.
"If I had won, it would have been in there," Bender said. "It was one of my top priorities. The reason I didn't do it in my first term was we had a deficit budget for the first three years."
The budget passed Monday included a balanced general fund with $123,800 in surplus, but deficits in some of the smaller funds, such as the water and sewer, commuter parking and Northwest Water Reclamation funds. Last year, the general fund had a $200,000 deficit.
Through the budgeting process, 58 initiatives – a new program, policy, project or purchase – were identified and 33 of them, totally $1.6 million, were included in the budget, Associate Village Administrator Tara Semenchuk said in a presentation to the board.
They include adding 5.25 worth of full-time employees, including a new 911 dispatcher and two water and sewer employees, as well as making some part-time positions full time, she said.
It's a tight budget because economy at the national, state and local level remains weak, Bender said.