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posted: 6/23/2010 12:01 AM

Round Lake panel eyes donations despite trustees' opposition

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By Adam DeRose

A Round Lake village board committee is recommending funding three donation requests despite continued opposition from some trustees.

Some committee members argued Monday that such donations shouldn't be made while the village is trying to hold the line on expenses, and while the board is trying to set guidelines on the issue.

The human resources and finance committee recommended $150 donations to each the Metropolitan Planning Council, which helps plan long-term development in Chicago and its suburbs, and the Round Lake Area Park District for its Fourth of July fireworks celebration, and a $100 donation for the American Cancer Society.

"When we're strapped for dollars, I don't feel it's fair to the citizens of Round Lake to donate that money," Trustee Don Newby said.

Newby was one of two board members who voted down a request for a $150 village donation to the Friends of the Round Lake Area Parks Foundation Inc, last month. The group asked for money to help send children to summer camp.

Newby and Trustee Susan Triphahn defeated the donation request as the 3-2 vote, with one abstention, was not enough to authorize spending of village money.

The board's community development committee is developing specific guidelines for village donations to present to the entire board.

The committee is working on options to consider alternatives to donating tax dollars, including a proposal requesting trustees donate from their own pockets on the village's behalf.

These options would better mirror the village's recent budget cutbacks, including freezing village employee wages, some officials said.

"With these hard times, and with the state owing us money, we pay our tax dollars to run the operations of the village, not to give out donations," Newby said. "We want a policy and procedure that we can all come to an agreement on."

Trustee Sherry Perkowitz said she did not want any blanket guidelines for donations. She said she feared board members would be locked into a scenario in which the village could not donate to a cause or organization simply because it did not appear on a master list prepared by the committee.

"I think every donation this village makes should be voted on, every dime," Perkowitz told the board.

The full board is expected to vote on the three donation requests at next month's meeting. Newby said the committee did not have a timeline for when the guidelines would be ready for a vote.