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Village Board Passes New Budget

Staff makes cuts required by mayor before vote.

After additional cuts were made over the last two weeks, the Village Board of Trustees passed Monday by a 5-1 vote with Trustee William Seiden being the lone dissenter.

Seiden wanted to see a trimmer financial plan because of the current economic climate.

When Finance Director Robert Fialkowski presented the budget to the Board two weeks ago, Mayor Harriet Rosenthal asked Fialkowski to make cuts of $85,000 to eliminate any need to increase the property tax levy.

“We were instructed to go back and see if we could get the general fund property tax levy for the 2012 levy to come out without any increase,” Fialkowski said. “There were some things happening in police and we were able to reduce the budget in those salary areas by slightly more than that amount.”

Trustee Mary Oppenheim wanted to make sure there would be no adverse effect on public safety. “This doesn’t represent any decrease in police services, staffing or coverage,” she asked? Fialkowski assured the Board it did not.

Seiden, who has questioned expenditures in last year’s budget as well as the current plan, was unwilling to approve changes he felt put too big a burden on residents.

“We all know how bad the economy is and how it effects all of us in one way or another,” Seiden said. “The levy can and should be reduced in difficult economic conditions. Every dollar counts when the economy is bad.”

Trustee Alan Farkas, like Seiden, understands the apprehension but voted for the budget for the same reason his colleague opposed.

“We have all these concerns and I recognize they have been taken into consideration,” Farkas said. “We have done everything we can to keep them in line while at the same time trying to maintain the quality of the Village.”

Oppenheim made it clear that even though property taxes have gone up to pay for the Village’s water reclamation plant, the charges are not out of line. “They are only up to the rate we paid in 2001,” she said.

RB April 19, 2012 at 05:27 PM
What about fees? The mayor was asking that some fees be raised. Was that in the approved budget? If so, that's effectively a tax increase. The issue of finding $85,000 seems minuscule to the $600,000 plus that the mayor spent on our pedestrian underpass at the railroad tracks. Nice, but was it really worth it? I don't think so. Now, she's all about cutting $85,000 from the police budget. If the $85k did not have an impact on public safety, what other funds could be cut? Election time should make clear what other residents think of the Spring/Summer underpass project last year. Upgrades in this economy didn't make sense then and they still don't. What does make sense are creative proposals like rolling the Park District into the Village so we can stop paying for duplicate services. As it is, this little Village has Village tree trimmers trimming Parkways and Park District Trimmers trimming park district trees. Same with mowing. They are driving by each other. We've got Federal, State, County, Township, Village, 2 school districts, a park district, a library district, water....on and on....a town of 18,000 people.....crazy! Make some big changes people!
David Greenberg April 20, 2012 at 08:13 PM
The time for Townships has long since passed. The services offered by a Township are easily absorbed by the Village, or offered by charitable organizations in the area.

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