Elburn Village Board begins difficult budget process
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board took a first look at what will be a series of reviews of its 2012 budget at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday. The process of reviewing line items and weighing cuts will continue until April.
Trustees were asked by village administrators to go through the recommended budget line by line, ask questions and make suggestions. They will see the budget for each department at least two times before making decisions.
“This is the first time you will see this budget. It won’t be the last,” Village Administrator Erin Willrett said. “There is time to make changes through April. We will go through each department two rounds. You will see the entire village budget as a whole four times.”
With concerns of lowered revenues at the top of their minds, board members expressed concern that the budget stay in line with what money is coming into the village. The state income tax payments are currently four months behind and down 13 percent from this time last year.
“My concern is that the state will decide it’s too far behind and will start from scratch, and we’ll lose the four months’ payments,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “We should have $91.08 per person returned back to us from the income tax. The actual return is $79.78 per person.”
Trustee Ken Anderson said that it was vital that the budget start from where the 2011 revenues are and not simply create a wish list.
“Are we saying to our department heads that that’s where we start and that this is what we have? If it can’t be run with that amount of money, then we know we have a problem,” Anderson said. “We’re not going to keep going in debt to make ends meet.”
Willrett described the process as one of coming to consensus about which projects get priority.
“We need everyone to buy in on what projects we’re dealing with. If we have five projects, we’re not leaving the table until you all agree. We have more projects than we do money. You have some tough decisions,” she said. “In the second round, I will be proposing cuts. They may not be popular, but there will be cuts. We need to get down to the bare bones.”