In my most recent blog, I outlined the Village’s budget development process and the efforts that were underway to put together a financial plan for the Village’s next fiscal year, Calendar Year 2021, which is set to begin on January 1. This past Tuesday evening at the October 13 Finance Committee meeting, the Village Board embarked upon its discussions of the Preliminary Calendar Year 2021 Budget. For over three and a half hours, the Board undertook a review of financial forecasting, planned investments in infrastructure and equipment, reductions in operating budgets and plans for the forthcoming year. The video of the Finance Committee’s discussion is available here. I also encourage you to explore the comprehensive preliminary budget document.
As I have mentioned, this budget is a cautious one that focuses on prioritizing expenditures against an erratic revenue picture. It keeps the Village’s seven strategic priorities – Financial Sustainability, Infrastructure Replacement, Community Engagement, Commercial Vitality, Operational Effectiveness, Organizational Development and Environmental Sustainability – foremost in our development process. Staying focused on these factors has led to the development of a preliminary budget that proposes thoughtful budget reductions, maintains funding for our most critical operations and capital investments and works to spread critical expenditures across the entire fiscal year to accommodate changes in revenues from the COVID-19 pandemic and/or other economic impacts. Since the preliminary document is nearly 150 pages long, I thought I’d share a “CliffsNotes” summary in case you don’t have the time to read the entire document:
As proposed, total expenses across all funds total $28,984,520 against proposed revenues of $28,187,142. The Village’s largest fund, the General Fund (which accounts for many of the Village’s day-to-day expenses), has total proposed expenditures of $20,869,739 against revenues of $19,144,543. Proposed General Fund expenditures include over $2.1 million in capital and equipment replacements and utilize fund balance for these critical, one-time expenses, in line with Village’s financial policies. The budget remains in balance due to use of fund balance reserves.
Overall, the budget as proposed includes:
- A reduction of one full time employee delayed rehiring (until July 2021) of two vacant positions and delays in implementation of cost of living adjustments (until at least July 2021) for non-union employees, plus nearly $275,000 in additional reductions in operational costs across all Village departments.
- Planned use of fund reserves to support investments totaling over $3.6 million in infrastructure and equipment across the General, Water, Capital Projects and Golf Club Funds. Read all about these projects here.
- Increases in water rates (8%) and sewer rates (5%) in line with prior Village analyses to accommodate continued reinvestment in our critical water distribution and storm/sanitary sewer infrastructure
- An 18% increase in Police Pension Fund costs as statutorily mandated, in line with actuarial requirements (State mandates have pushed up the Village’s required annual payment by over 48% since 2017, now accounting for over 12% of the Village’s operating budget).
- An overall 2.3% increase in the Village’s property tax levy as limited by the Property Tax Extension Limitation law (PTELL). This increase will have the net effect of only an approximately 1.8% increase, thanks to the Village’s recent refunding and retirement of bond debt. Our AAA bond rating from Standard & Poors, the highest rating possible, has allowed the Village to realize very low interest rates in the bond market.
- No fee increases for building permits, vehicle licenses, business licenses or other similar fees.
The Village Board’s review this week kicks off dialogue that will continue through the end of 2020. In November, the Board will hold a public hearing on the draft 2020 property tax levy, and staff will formally present the Calendar Year 2021 Budget to the Board. In December, the Board will consider the approval of both the budget and the tax levy. I hope you’ll continue to follow along and participate with your questions and comments throughout the public process of this most important policy discussion.
Speaking of policy discussions, since early last year, the Village Board has engaged in an ongoing review and dialogue of the Village’s governance structure. Currently, Glencoe is a non-home rule community, which carries with it some limitations (and some benefits). When the Village’s current Strategic Plan was adopted in 2018, the Board indicated a desire to review whether this form of government was the best for the Village both in the present and in the future. Questions about this were included in the Village’s 2019 Community Survey, with some indication from respondents that home rule authority would benefit the community. This week, the Village Board continued its discussion and may consider placing a referendum question on the April 2021 ballot to consider a change to home rule. I encourage you to read the research conducted since May 2019 on this subject, available on the Village’s website. Look for more information in future Village communications.
Finally, as you’ll read in today’s edition of eNews, following a nearly two year review process, this week the Village Board unanimously approved the final plat of subdivision and associated subdivision development agreement for the Forest Edge subdivision, the former Hoover Estate located at 1801 Green Bay Road. The new subdivision will consist of 29 new lots, significant new public infrastructure (including extensive stormwater management improvements) and preservation of the historic gates near the current entrance of the estate. The final approval documents are available here. The public engagement that followed this development proposal certainly made for a better subdivision, and we are grateful to all those who participated in the public process.
As always, I hope you remain well as fall sets in. Remember - #MaskOnGlencoe! Stay healthy, and help our entire community stay that way!