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Local

Revenues can't keep up with rising expenses in Lakemoor

LAKEMOOR – Rising insurance costs drove up expenses in Lakemoor's approved budget.

The approved general fund budget has a $45,000 shortfall, which staff will be able to eliminate by monitoring expenses and making reductions throughout the year as necessary, Village Administrator David Alarcon said.

The budget lays out $3.7 million in general fund expenses, an increase of 4.8 percent over last fiscal year, most of which caused by increases to health care and workers compensation insurance.

Projected revenues only rose 1.8 percent, and even those won't all come in.

Despite the Lakemoor Village Board approving a 5-percent levy increase in December, recently released numbers from the McHenry and Lake County clerk offices show the village will bring in $50,000 less in property taxes this year compared to last year.

Declining property values have meant that the village hit the maximum tax rate its allowed under state law.

"You're going to see that more and more now as property values decline," longtime McHenry County Clerk Kathie Schultz said. "We haven't seen that in a long time."

The budget also projects declining income from fines, though the village also has a better handle on what it can expect to bring in from the red light camera at the intersection of Route 120 and 12, Alarcon said.

About 70 percent of the red-light camera revenue will go toward capital improvements, including construction of a new village hall, infrastructure improvements at 120 and 12 and park and trail extensions, he said.

The village also received an Illinois Department of Transportation grant to build a bike and pedestrian connecting Moraine Hills with Heritage Park with a pedestrian-activated crosswalk at Darrell Road and Route 120.

The approved budget also tries to take advantage of other revenue sources in other areas, including cutting some police details, relying more on grant funding for holiday enforcement and eliminating three seasonal parks and roads positions in the hopes of coordinating with a Lake County youth employment program to bring in workers at no cost to the village.

The number of full-time employees will stay the same.

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