On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, the Village Council adopted the Aggregate Tax Levy used to fund services in the coming year. These services are detailed in the 2016 Municipal Budget which was adopted in November following a very open and participative process. A total of twelve meetings were held during which components of the budget were discussed between members of the public, the Village Council and staff.
The purpose of the budget is to align everyday operations and Village resources with community priorities outlined in planning documents such as the Long Range Plan and the Comprehensive Plan. It also includes priority action items identified by the Village Council.
The FY16 Budget was developed during a time of financial uncertainty at the State level and reflects the challenges associated with maintaining service levels while expenses are increasing faster than revenues.
While the final FY16 Budget documents are being prepared here are the highlights:
Balanced General Fund: The Village's General Fund is financially sound, with expenses and revenues balanced at $46.3 million.
Fund Balance Maintained at the Recommended Level: The General Fund balance will : continue to be an amount equal to approximately 38% of annual expenses. This balance is consistent with Standard & Poor's guidelines to maintain the Village's AAA bond rating.
No Increase in the Property Tax Levy for Operations: The budget does not increase the property tax levy for operations for the fifth year in a row.
Property Tax Levy Increase for Required Contributions to Public Safety Pensions: The budget includes an increase in the levy for public safety (police and fire) pensions in the amount of $893,291. This is a 19.5% increase in this portion of the tax levy. The Village's required funding level for pensions is set by state statute. The increase for FY16 is related to new accounting standards and lower than expected investment returns in the police and fire pension funds.
Staffing Reductions: The budget reduces total Village staffing from 329.3 full time equivalent (FTE) positions to 325.6 FTE, a decline of 3.7 FTE positions. Several positions which became vacant in 2015 and were not filled on a temporary basis following the proposed reductions in state shared revenue, will remain vacant in 2016. However, the budget includes funding for an additional planner in the Community Development Department, bringing the staffing to the 2014 level and providing resources to address increased workload in this department.
Continued Investment in Infrastructure: The Village will continue to make major improvements in the Village's infrastructure, including $6.9 million in streets, $4.3 million in stormwater and $4.1 million for water. The improvements are designed to reduce the total life cycle cost of owning and operating the infrastructure systems.
(Street Improvements) (Stormwater Improvements)
No Increase in the Stormwater Utility Fee: Based on Council direction during Long Range planning, the budget does not include an increase in the stormwater utility fee. The revenues in the Stormwater Fund will be supplemented by $300,000 previously budgeted for new sidewalks in the Capital Fund. This will allow the Village to continue to adhere to the plan for stormwater system maintenance with no increase in fees for 2016 while the Village Council considers future changes to the stormwater utility.
Funding Sources for Priority Action Items: This budget includes funding to support the Village's top and high priority action items for 2016.