Wednesday, May 9, 2018 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews
Featured image: A chart pulled from Broadview’s approved FY 2019 budget document. | Screenshot
The village of Broadview’s Board of Trustees voted 5-1 to approve the budget for the 2019 fiscal year during a special April 18 meeting. Trustee Judy Brown-Marino was the sole dissenting vote. During the meeting, village officials also laid out their goals and plans for the new fiscal year.
The budget was originally projected to have an almost $1.9 million deficit, but the department heads were able to bring the deficit down by reducing pension contributions from the level advised by the actuaries to the level mandated by state law, as well as reducing expenses.
The village is expected to bring in $15,326,056 in total revenue — a $259,706, or 1.7 percent, increase compared to the 2018 fiscal year. Property tax revenue, which is expected to account for 39 percent of the budget, is expected to increase from $4,730,231 to $6,037,296.
The next highest source of revenue, which is labeled ‘other taxes’ in the budget document, is projected to decrease by $281,067, going from $4,989,000 in fiscal year 2018 to $4,707,933 in fiscal year 2019. The village is also projected to take in less money from licenses, permits and fees, while getting more money from service charges and investment income.
Timothy Hicks, Broadview’s finance director, said during the April 18 meeting that employee costs account for the largest share, or 66 percent, of the budget. The village plans to spend $9,785,117 overall – an increase compared to last year’s $9,411,473.
“The majority of the costs are personnel costs, so that leaves very little,” Hicks said. “We have to fine-tune [the remainder in order] to be able to provide good services that residents have come to know and to expand certain services.”
The employee benefits costs went up as well. The amount of money that will go into contract services is lower than it was this fiscal year, going down from $2,484,508 to $2,462,482. The village also plans to spend less on goods and capital expenses, which dropped by 23 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
The executive department, which includes Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson and the trustees, got an 8 percent bump under the 2019 budget, going up from $682,724 to $737,481.
Thompson said that one of the reasons for the change is that all of the village legal services have been consolidated in the executive department, so legal service expenses went up in that department and dropped down to zero in all others.
The village clerk’s office budget was reduced by 26 percent, going down from $69,353 to $51,105. Village Clerk Kevin McGrier said that he plans to operate on an even lower budget than that. He also noted that his office’s budget tends to go up during election years and go down during off years.
McGrier said that his office’s major priority in the upcoming fiscal year would be to ensure that all of the ordinances are properly codified and up-to-date. McGrier explained that this is something that has been a major issue since 2015.
And, in what he described as an unprecedented move for Broadview, McGrier said he would release 2017 executive session minutes.
The Buildings Department budget was reduced by $32,166, going down from $584,318 to $552,152. David Upshaw, the Broadview Building Commissioner, explained that, at the mayor’s request, he intends to hire a second administrative staffer to help with economic development initiatives.
Upshaw said that he also plans to hire contractors to handle landscaping for “all municipal properties as well as abandoned homes that we become aware of during the [next] fiscal year.”
Upshaw said that his major priorities are to update the Broadview building code and put together a comprehensive program that would create uniform procedures for what kinds of incentives developers and property owners can apply for.
He said that he also plans to sell village-owned properties in order to encourage economic development and buy up abandoned properties with large property tax debts in order to get rid of the debt and sell it back to private owners.
“Our budget is less,” Upshaw reflected. “And it [is] my goal to increase revenue in our community and lose our debt, and we can do it by economic development, which will create sales tax, property tax [revenue].”
Video of the April 24 special meeting on the fiscal year 2019 budget for Broadview. | YouTube
Other departments saw their budgets reduced. The finance department’s budget dropped by around 5 percent and the public works department’s budget dropped by roughly 7 percent.
“We operated within our budget every year, with exception of 2010, where we had a natural disaster [flood],” said Matthew Ames, the public works director. “We’re going to do everything in our power to operate within our ever-reducing budget. But I do understand.”
Ames said that he would like to replace a street sweeper and other vehicles, since most of them have become unreliable and expensive to maintain.
The village also plans to install smart water meters, replace the water main on Roosevelt Road and repaint the village water tower — something that hasn’t been done in about 20 years. Ames suggested that it would be prudent for Broadview to apply for low-interest Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loans to help cover these and other projects.
Broadview’s fire and police department’s experienced budget increases of 2 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson said during the meeting that she plans to work more closely with other departments to encourage economic development, collaborate more intensively with area schools and other government entities and setup a municipal internship program for Broadview college students.
Some trustees, such as Judy Brown-Marino, expressed concerns about the budget. Brown-Marino said that she was concerned that some of the projected revenue was too optimistic.
“I’m concerned that we got really rosy, overly optimistic and unrealistic projections,” she said. “I’m seeing one thing after another after another that mirrors everything [former mayor] Henry Vicenic was doing that led to massive layoffs and the austerity program, and having not enough money to cover payroll at the time,” she said.
Trustees Sherman Jones and John Ealey expressed their own reservations, with the latter suggesting that it might be prudent to hold off on the vote. But trustee Verina Horne said that, overall, she had no problem with the budget.
“I actually think this budget solid,” she said. “I can understand how people can have different ideas of how they want to use the money, but the information that was presented adds up, it’s balanced, it makes sense.” VFP
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