Spot Check: $64 Mil. Your Money. In Their Hands. Your Move.

It’s that time of year when the people you elect to take care of business, show you how they’re going to do that. Then send you a bill. Twice.

After four months, it’s green shades off, pencils down. Some insome out, and some for the pig.

$174 No More

Originally, it was going to cost you $174 more on average to nail the Village’s Budget Bucket ListOn November 3rd, the VC took another look at projected revenues from fees, and voila! Revenues minus spending got the equal sign – and you got a goose egg. Wh-hoo for a little thing called “balanced budget.”

Before you pop the cork, remember that the Village takes only 13.05% of every dollar you pay in property taxes. Schools, Parks, the Library and others have their hand in your wallet, too. Various utility fees, taxes, and any car or dog licenses TBD. So you may actually see an increase (or not) in the check you write to live here.

Tell Vlad I’m Flexible

On November 15th, the VC will sign on the bottom line. Inking the deal doesn’t mean the end of the line [Nov. 3, 2:47:15]. Here's a preview of the devil's-in-the-details-drill-down.

  • Water and electric rate increases and reserves. [Nov. 3rd, 2:25:20] Seems some customers aren't paying their fair share. On the table: Customer classes, level of reserves, and who pays how much. The VC will Goldilocks it and get back to us.  
  • The Elephant: Water main replacement and power generation plant upgrades. [Oct. 27th] These are going to be bigger than big, so they’re talking “strategy.” And a jump-start $1 million IEPA loan. Band-Aids and duct tape, all gone.
  • Downtown revitalization – $470,000 for the DMP's low-hanging fruit. Community Development thinks it knows how to spend it. [Oct 18th, 15:15] Some trustees want to invite the Plan Commission and Zoning Board to the party.
  • Stormwater –  $3,230,000 earmarked for stormwater improvements including Strand’s “early action items.” $10 million for 10-year relief vs waiting for the Forest Preserve.
  • Pension funding – the guys on the job are good to go, but players to be named later will live longer. How to pay to keep them in kibble? GFOA logs in.
  • Garbage in, garbage where? Changing the way it's picked up and the perennial issue of privatizing. Watch 1st quarter of 2017.
  • What to do if the State enacts a property tax freeze, or cuts our share of State Revenue – called the Local Government Distributive Fund...

…for starters.

Slam. Dunk. Not.

Nobody's greasing up the Apple Pay just yet. Before this list is checked twice, the VC wants to hear from you. November 15th. 7:00, Village Hall. When time’s up – 3-minute rule, indoor voices – they’ll vote on the Big Picture. They’ll do more think-and-votes on the specifics over the next year. 

Spend Your Money Wisely

You’ve got skin in this game. And a season ticket to the cheap seats. This is something you can’t really DVR. Cue: Zero-based budgeting. That’s the VC’s pledge to you. Make it mean something. 

  • Read the Budget – Stick with it – much of it in real-people-speak. Great overview. Great narratives after each section.