Thursday, April 9, 2015 || By Michael Romain
At a special budget meeting held last night, April 8, Maywood’s board and administrative staff discussed the village’s preliminary annual operating budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, set to begin May 1. The topic that dominated the conversation was how to pare down what Acting Village Manager David Myers projected to be a rather large deficit between the village’s general fund revenues and expenditures.
Projected revenue for the next fiscal year’s budget is $22,417,718, while expenditures are projected at $22,984,918—leaving a deficit of $567,200, prompting Myers to take a scalpel to new spending items.
Among those items were a series of expenditures introduced by Mayor Edwenna Perkins, in addition to requests for new equipment and additional hires by the police, fire and public works departments.
Among Mayor Perkins’s requests were $12,000 for a new vehicle to replace the one she was assigned at the beginning of her term (she said the number was bumped up to $16,000 by Myers). She said the locks on her current vehicle, which she said she utilizes during nights while driving around the village, are not functional.
Perkins also requested $20,000 for the purchase of a reader board sign, $20,000 for Maywood Fest expenses, $5,000 for expenses related to sponsoring a job fair, $8,000 for the village’s annual turkey give away and $70,000 for costs associated to the village’s summer work program, among other items.
Among spending items the police department requested are five new patrol officers at $214,914, three new crossing guards at $34,442, two new lieutenants at $182,000 and a part-time officer at $27,742, among other new items. Talley said that his department projects a savings of more than $400,000 by utilizing twelve-hour shifts that would begin January 1, 2016.
Among spending items the fire department requested is $250,000 allocated toward the cost of a new fire engine, which would replace the aging engine the department currently has. The department requested that an additional $250,000 be set aside in the 2016-17 budget to pay the balance of the new vehicle. The department also requested an additional fire fighter at $42,952 and an F-250 truck at $40,000 to mitigate problems associated with engines getting stuck in snow, among other challenges, during the winter.
Among spending items the public works department requested is an assistant director of public works at $65,000, in addition to new HVAC units for the police department and the multipurpose building. The HVAC units in both buildings would amount to more than $100,000. The department also requested an additional forestry truck at $73,000 and four new trucks—two chevy 3500 1-ton dump trucks and two Ford F-250 trucks—that would amount to more than $170,000 total.
In response to the projected expenses, Trustee Michael Rogers suggested that the board prioritize the items into four categories: “must-have,” “really want,” “can reduce” and “standby.”
He said he would put the mayor’s reader board into the “really want” category, which he said translates into “something you could live without.”
Myers then pared down both the mayor’s requests, noting that the budgets for the Maywood Fest and turkey give away programs could be pared down at least by half. He also noted that the $70,000 summer youth employment program could perhaps come out of an already budgeted line item—the $75,000 summer abatement program.
Both Myers and Rogers also suggested that the village could optimize its summer youth employment program by recruiting youth with high-level skills who can help the village in areas such as communications, information technology and finance; rather than solely focusing on manual labor.
While Myers stressed cuts to achieve a balanced budget, Mayor Perkins and Trustee Chery Ealey-Cross emphasized finding long-neglected revenue streams. The Mayor pointed out that the village still has money it hasn’t collected from residents who owe on their water bills, while Trustee Ealey-Cross noted that the code enforcement department should go after residents in the village who may be skirting ordinances.
The board will deliberate more on the budget at its April 15 meeting. A budget ordinance must be passed before May 1, or the village could face state fines. VFP
To read the full preliminary budget proposal, click here.