Lake in the Hills plans for balanced budget

LAKE IN THE HILLS – In 2014, the village expects to run a balanced $17.1 million budget, which includes a slight reduction in its property tax levy, while adding a handful of employees during the year.

The annual budget includes a property tax levy request of $5.656 million, which is about $10,000 less than last year, making it the third year the village has reduced its levy.

The projected tax rate is estimated to increase from $.883 to $.938 per $100 of equalized assessed property values. The final rate however won’t be set until property values are set in the spring.

“We’re trying to keep it the same and live within our means,” Village Administrator Gerald Sagona said. “It’s what the residents of our community expect.”

The overall general fund budget, which pays for parks, the police department, public works and administration, among other things, is estimated to be $17.1 million.

Employees who are not represented by a union are slated to receive a 2 percent cost-of-living increase, along with the possibility of a merit adjustment, according to village documents.

The village’s health insurance costs are expected to increase by 10 percent.

To help with economic development efforts, officials plan to spend $5,770 for a market study, map enhancements and website upgrades, as well as $1,270 for printing and digital advertisements of the town.

Next year, the village’s Community Development Department plans to switch to tablet computers as part of a cloud-based permit software system, to allow inspectors to go paperless. The cost is $11,700 a year, plus $2,400 for computers and printers.

Work is planned for a veterans memorial as well.

In 2012, the village board discussed the concept of a veterans memorial in the village. This year, a concept plan and costs were developed by a veterans memorial committee.

In 2014, the village has included $40,000 in its budget to help pay for the estimated $150,000 veteran’s memorial project.

The remaining dollars will be generated through fundraising efforts by the veterans memorial committee, according to a village budget memo.

In the parks and recreation department, additional part-time staff is planned for next year to help with field maintenance and janitorial services at the parks.

The village also plans to carry out an expansion of the splash pad at Sunset Park and upgrade signs at Ryder and Stoneybrook parks.

To help with the ongoing work at the village’s equestrian center, which has a new tenant, the village plans to spend $40,570 on septic system upgrades, a roof replacement and perimeter fencing.

With money from its motor fuel tax fund, the village plans to replace the bridge deck on the Hilltop Drive bridge and replace the culverts on the Jessie Road bridge, as well as resurface 3.2 miles of roads.

The village is continuing with its water main replacement program and plans to spend $1.2 million next year. The program is scheduled for completion in 2016. To pay for the improvements, the village wants to increase water rates by 3 percent, which would amount to 41 cents more a month for a customer that uses 6,000 gallons of water every quarter, village documents said.

At the airport, a handful of projects are planned to improve safety.

The village plans to replace and relocate its aviation fuel system, extend the airport perimeter fence around the east end of the runway and extend a taxiway, according to a budget memo.

One employee is expected to be added to help with airport operations and maintenance. That employee would be paid for through the airport fund.

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