Taking a Minute for the Budget in Brief
With so much going on in the world today, it’s easy to lose track of things like what your local government is working on. We get it, you’re busy! That’s one reason why the Village takes time to produce our annual Budget in Brief—an almost 100% jargon-free and infographic-heavy report illustrating the Village’s priorities and spending plan for the coming year. Needless to say, the six page brief is a much easier read than our full Fiscal Year 2020 Budget document, which came in at just under 280 pages. While it is a much condensed version of the budget, throughout the Budget in Brief you’ll still see plenty of evidence of the Village’s commitment to sound fiscal management, an enduring hallmark of our community. So, whether you review the print version mailed to your home earlier this week, or if you take time to glance at the flipbook version online here, I hope that you find the time to take the information in so that you might understand your local government a little bit better.
Specifically, I’d like to draw your attention to a new section that reports on the Village’s performance with the $10 million in debt issued following residents’ approval of two referendum questions in 2015 (view that recap here). When we went to referendum, we planned for that $10 million to support $6.5 million in storm sewer improvements and sanitary sewer maintenance, $2.5 million in HVAC system improvements at Village Hall and $1 million in street resurfacing and sidewalk replacement work. That work is now nearing completion and due to a number of factors, the Village accomplished much more than we originally expected—see the graphic below showing the actual result of our efforts. Here’s a quick summary of why were able to do more:
- AAA Bond Rating: The Village’s AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s helped us qualify for low interest rates which helped decrease the cost of borrowing. Also due to our AAA rating, we received what is called a bond premium which is essentially a payment we received from our lender because our good credit strengthened their loan portfolio.
- Grants: The Village received over $238,000 in grants for the HVAC and storm sewer projects. As explained in the Budget in Brief, we were competitive in the grant process in large part because the projects were already backed by the bonds you approved. In many ways it helped to have the projects planned and on our books.
- Timing: Timing was essential! Contracts for the bond supported projects were bid in a slow construction market, which means that we benefitted from more competitive bids than we may have otherwise. This was especially true with the storm sewer improvements, which we expanded from five original areas to nine thanks to competitive bids and some cost engineering.
Finally, and perhaps this isn’t reiterated enough in the Budget in Brief, the overwhelmingly positive results we saw with these projects was also due in large part to the thoughtfulness of our Village Board and the diligence of Village staff. And as a resident, you had a hand in the success as well—thank you for your support of the referenda and for entrusting us with your tax dollars.
From the results of the 2015 bond proceeds, to the priorities reflected in the Budget in Brief, we hope you see the evidence of the Village’s efforts to ensure that the best possible value for your dollar is achieved. As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments on the budget and our upcoming schedule of projects. My door is always open!