by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVEâ€”The Village Board’s discussion about the budget probably mirrored conversations taking place in kitchens throughout the country.
â€œThere’s less money coming in, and more money going out,â€ Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger told the board. â€œJust like at home, you have to figure out how to bring more money in or where to cut expenses.â€
The village expects to receive $22,500 less than budgeted and to spend $2,700 more than budgeted from the general fund, resulting in a total deficit of $62,000, Eichelberger said. Next year looks even worse, with a projected deficit of approximately $155,000.
Deficits for the waterworks and sewerage funds are expected to total $158,000 for this year, but to improve next year to approximately $65,000.
â€œAny more cuts (in expenditures) may start to affect services,â€ Eichelberger said. â€œHow comfortable are you with that?â€
Although trustee Tom Renk said he thought the village should continue to look at staff reductions, trustee Rick Montalto said he disagreed with cutting any additional staff, especially police or public works employees.
â€œWe’re cutting services if we cut any more staff, and that’s a wrong way to go,â€ Montalto said. â€œWe need staff to consider additional revenue sources.â€
Eichelberger said that the board would be surprised by how relatively little impact the reduction in staff earlier this year had on expenses.
Trustee Melisa Taylor said she did not want to impact residents negatively with any increased revenue sources. Eichelberger suggested there were things they could consider that would not hurt the majority of residents.
Charging towing fees when police have to tow a car could bring in a considerable amount of money, he said. The village could charge up to $200 per car, and if the police towed 100 cars per year, the money could add up.
â€œYou’re not getting towed unless you’re doing something wrong,â€ he said.
Overweight truck enforcement could raise money as well as reduce wear and tear on the road, Montalto said, but Police Chief Brad Sauer said that the police force was already stretched to capacity.
Eichelberger reminded board members that the general fund still has a balance of $1.1 million. He suggested that this could be the rainy day for which the village had built up its reserves.
â€œI think (trustee) Bob (Bohler) should bake more pies and have a bake sale,â€ trustee Mari Johnson joked.
Bohler was a two-time winner this year at the Sugar Grove Farmer’s Market’s second annual pie contest.