Local

Fox River Grove plans balanced operating budget

Board approves 2.8 percent hike in water, sewer rates

FOX RIVER GROVE – The village is planning a $3.8 million operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Village Board members on Thursday approved their spending plan for fiscal 2014-15, which begins in May. The day-to-day operating budget includes $3.8 million in planned expenses, with $4 million in projected revenues.

Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said the overall operating budget was reduced by 1.25 percent.

Among the reductions is not replacing former Public Works Director Jon Huizinga, who retired. Instead superintendents John Reese, who oversees the parks and streets, and Tim Zintl, who oversees the village's water and sewer departments, report directly to Soderholm.

The village also isn't replacing a public works maintenance worker who left the municipality.

Whether it affects service levels is something the village will evaluate, Soderholm said.

The village plans to hire additional summer help in the public works department. The village is planning to hire six people rather than four during the summer.

The village also was able to hold the line on many line items and reduce costs, Soderholm said. He added the village staff looked for opportunities to save money.

"Which is a good thing for the village," Soderholm said. "Ultimately down the road we're attempting to meet capital needs ... which there are many of those."

Trustee Steve Knar said the budget was good and he was happy the village is able to carry out a large capital programs. However, he voted "no" on the budget.

"I am disappointed that with the elimination of a position, we haven't garnered more savings on payroll," Knar said. 

As part of the budget plan, Village Board members approved a 2.8 percent increase to both water and sanitary sewer rates, which Soderholm called a relatively modest increase.

He said the average bill would increase by $1.97 per month.

Soderholm said the increase will help pay for water and sewer operations.

Trustee Tom Anderson voted against the increase.

"It almost seems like we're piling on a bit as far as increases go," Anderson said. "We took the levy on property tax and now we're increasing the water and sewer rates."

The village has $5.1 million planned in capital projects.

The capital budget, however, includes $3.1 million set aside in case the village starts design and/or construction work on a new public works facility. There is a lawsuit pending over whether the facility construction can take place.

Soderholm said he anticipates some design work to take place.

The village does plan to spend $717,000 for road resurfacing work. That number includes both construction and design. Also included in the spending plan is $20,000 for sidewalk replacements.

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