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Village Vision News

New budget takes conservative approach

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The proposed 2013-14 Village budget was approved unanimously by Village trustees on April 1. This followed a brief public hearing that drew little discussion among the Board members and just one clarification needed from among residents who attended the public hearing about Forsyth’s proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning May 1.

The new budget takes a conservative approach to its revenue projections because of the uncertainty in the amount and the time of receipt for state funds.

Village Administrator Mike Miller said despite several bills pending in Springfield that would limit the ability of municipalities to increase or even to force lower property taxes, there should be little impact in the Village’s next fiscal year, which begins May 1, “…since we kept our levy flat this year, but it may impact future years.”

Miller had previously provided trustees with a draft copy of the 2013- 14 budget for review at the March 18 Board meeting and asked for questions. Trustee Eric Morr said he would like to get rid of the old water plant and questioned the $20,000 budgeted for its remodeling. Miller indicated that the building is currently being used for storage by the Public Works Department, but said the possibility exists for its listing for a prospective buyer. Not all budgeted items are acted upon, Miller advised.

Turning to capital expenditures for infrastructure, Morr asked if Elwood Street south of Cox Street was to be “the major street” next fiscal year at a projected cost of $1,040,000. Once Miller confirmed that it was, Morr asked if it would be concrete. Village Engineer Chuck Hunsinger said since this street was recycled and rebuilt at one time, concrete is a more expensive option based on life cycle costs. Elwood Street will be done in two phases, according to Hunsinger, without any loss of efficiency since half of the project is expected to be completed by winter. Also included in the street budget is $87,000 for the remaining improvements on Cox Street, $10,000 for sidewalks and trees for landscaping totaling $8,000.

Other aspects of the budget are park improvements budgeted at $182,000 with $75,000 earmarked for ball diamond No. 5 outfield improvements and the balance divided among tennis court patching/painting; northwest pocket park equipment; concession stand upgrades/improvements; park landscaping; trail improvements; and trail lighting.

The library’s capital improvement budget is listed at $116,123 with $107,623 of the total to be spent on windows and carpeting remediation. Record retention at Village Hall will draw $40,000 of the $85,000 in the administrative budget with the balance directed toward a payroll time tracking system and upgrades to the server and computer equipment.

Additionally, Miller explained to trustees in a written report that “an aggressive approach to debt reduction is included in this year’s budget, to lower our fixed expenses in subsequent budgets.” He said this approach should allow the Village to compensate for most of the proposals being negotiated at the state level without impacting services to Village residents.

Miller further advised trustees there is a proposal from House Speaker Mike Madigan to borrow sales tax revenue due local municipalities to fund a new regulatory agency. “Given the state’s fiscal issues, it is difficult to assume those funds will ever be repaid,” he said.

On the same subject of state finances, Miller said Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing to reduce the share of the state’s income tax allocated to municipalities. “This proposal is gaining popularity as a way to solve the state’s fiscal issues,” he said, and noted the possibility that Forsyth could see approximately $65,000 in lost revenue if this happens.

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