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West Deerfield Township Leads By Example in New Fiscal Year

“We're asking everyone to tighten their belts,” said Township Supervisor Julie Morrison. “We felt that it was only right the township lead by example and do the same thing.”

Communities across the North Shore and much of Illinois remain cautious about their economic futures and  is no different.

In December, the Township adopted a 5 percent reduction in their 2012 tax levy, which, according to , amounts to roughly $874,600.

“The board and I both felt it was a response to the fact that (we) continue to see people struggling in the economy,” Morrison said. “We're asking everyone to tighten their belts, so they can make it at home. We felt that it was only right the township lead by example and do the same thing."

The estimates of that effort in the 2011 budget came to roughly $1.036 million in revenue and roughly $1.6 million in expenditures which includes early retirement of the mortgage on the Township's building in the amount of $368,650. Other expenditures include personnel expenses at about $348,000 and community service expenses at roughly $95,000. As of March 2012, when the fiscal year ends, the township's ending balance should stand at approximately $628,000.

"A whole range of things ... have really been exacerbated by the economy in the last (few) years," Morrison said. "That means (people are) not getting jobs, and they're still job searching or working below what they need in order to make it."

The housing market, she said, has likewise played a disheartening role in residents' lives.

"The housing market has been so slow, we've actually seen some people just walk away from their homes," she recalled. "Not a lot, but some. This is after foreclosure."

In the Village of Deerfield — where as of late, 113 homes were pending foreclosure, auction, or were in bank owned stages of the foreclosure process, it's a similar story.

"It's impacting our community here," Morrison said. "We've really been trying to assist people in finding jobs and the appropriate resources they need."

Two such resources are the transportation or "Going Places" program for senior citizens and an accessibility program for residents. The latter allows families to apply for up to $1,000, which can help close learning gaps through technology for the developmentally disabled or fund home modifications for those with accessibility issues.

"We look at this very broadly," Morrison said. "The state hasn't been able to keep up, in my opinion, with the needs of some of our residents; and the township is trying to respond to some of the most desperate needs that we've seen."

Herschel Stone January 27, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Why isn't the story about how the township is spending 75% more than they are taking in. Why is that? Why isn't the reporter asking that question instead of writing some puff piece about Ms. Morrison? Is she tightening her belt? Is she taking a pay-cut? What about her employees? I know the Patch isn't the Washington Post, but I believe any High School journalism student would take 10 minutes and research a littler further.
Julie Morrison January 27, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I understand that sometimes reporters can make mistakes, and that is why I am hoping to set the record straight. I suggested to the reporter that he go to our website and look at the budget for himself, as I hope all residents will who have questions. A budget is a projection of expenditures and so must reflect all anticipated expenses and revenues as well as the unexpected contingencies that might occur in the fiscal year. Revenue for 2011 was projected at $1, 036,000 and included $85,000 in grant money as well as $21,000 in rent from two tenants in the township building. The appropriated expenditures for all expenses was $1.6 million dollars, and that included the early repayment of a loan for the township building: $368,000. "Personal expenses" is personal services, or rather personnel services; that is the costs associated with the employees including their salaries, and all associated expenses for the year. I'm disappointed that this misinformation was included in this article and hope that this will help clarify things for everyone. Julie Morrison, Township Supervisor
RonnieTheLimoDriver January 28, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Im glad the Township is doing all they can to tighten their belts. The best thing the township could do is tighten their belt all the way to zero. I would like to see the Township eliminated like the folks in Evantston are working towards. While the Township provides valuable services, they are duplicative of those provided by other government agencies. More efficient use of taxpayer dollars can be achieved by eliminating redundant agencies such as the Township. Each government has its own administration and personnel expenses, and better economies of scale can be achieved by combining these agencies. Illinois is to America as Greece is to the EU. One of the reasons is With 6,994 local taxing bodies under its umbrella, Illinois outpaces Pennsylvania, which ranks second among the states for the most local governing entities, by more than 2,100 local governments, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While Ms. Morrison does an excellent job, its time to eliminate this relic of the past and move on.
Charlie January 28, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Amen. Pennsylvania must come in second place because they combined schools into consolidated districts decades ago, and parks, recreation, and libraries are under the umbrella of municipal governments. In Illinois, more government equals more patronage jobs and more professionals (lawyers, accountants, consultants, project managers) under lucrative quasi public contract awards. The Morrison family has supported itself off this system for two, going on three generations.
Joan February 02, 2012 at 04:09 PM
So, Ms. Morrison, as you explained, you spent $1.6 million but only had revenue of slightly over $1 million. Even with the "early repayment of a loan" that means you overspent by more than 20%. I just went to the West Deerfield Township website and noted that in FY 2012 you - again - expect to overspend by more than 20%. Are we supposed to be fooled by the 5% cut in taxes? The 5% that you obviously didn't pay for with spending cuts? As near as I can figure, you could pay for that paycut by giving back some of your $65k/year salary! (Why does the West Deerfield Township supervisor get paid $65k/year when the Deerfield Mayor works for free?) Bravo, you are a shoo-in for State Senator in Illinois!!
RB February 03, 2012 at 01:17 AM
The Township, Park District, School Districts, Village, Library Board....that's just the Government overlap here in Deerfield. Let's combine some of these districts to cut overhead and the costs of duplicated effort. Tag on County, State and Federal agencies and we simply have too many taxing bodies. Yes, for starters the township supervisor should not be a salaried position. Why a Township anyway?


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