by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Elburn officials are looking at employee-related expenses to see where cuts possibly can be made to reduce an expected $760,000 shortfall in the village’s next fiscal-year budget, which they plan to finalize during the next few weeks.
Salaries and employee benefits comprise approximately one third of the village’s 2010-11 tentative budget of $5.3 million.
Village officials recently cut one secretarial position that paid nearly $42,000 annually plus benefits. The position was one of two secretaries in the Public Works Department. In addition, last year, the village eliminated a part-time Police Department secretary salary and reduced an administrative assistant’s hours.
Village administrator Erin Willrett said if the village made any more staff cuts, a reduction in resident services would result.
Other options for reducing employee-related expenses were discussed during the March 22 meeting of the Committee of the Whole, which is composed of all Village Board members.
The committee talked about reducing support-staff hours permanently or during the summer months, and eliminating the life insurance premiums the village pays for employees. The latter cut would save $14,000 annually; however, several committee members opposed cutting that benefit, which provides employees with a $25,000 life insurance policy.
Another savings of $18,200 could come from eliminating the take-home vehicles the village provides for some employees. Currently, three department heads have that benefit. The village owns the three SUVs, and pays for all gasoline, insurance and maintenance for them.
Trustee Jeff Walter said only one department head should have a take-home vehicle.
â€œI think this (benefit) is something that should be eliminated, except for the chief of police,â€ Walter said. â€œWe could talk about a vehicle stipend per month (for the other department heads).â€
Committee members did not come to a consensus on any of the proposed cuts in employee-related expenses. They did decide that the village should retain one employee benefit, the annual staff party at a restaurant at a cost of approximately $2,700. About 62 village employees and public officials are invited to the holiday event.
Trustee Patricia Romke said that since the village is not giving raises, the party was the â€œone thing that (it was) able to do for employees.â€
Village President Dave Anderson agreed.
â€œIt’s a nice thank you from the Village Board to the employees,â€ Anderson said.
When asked later whether the village might choose to budget for an in-house village staff party that would be less costly in 2010, Anderson said, â€œI just never thought of it. That might be something we might want to consider.â€