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updated: 11/12/2012 11:26 PM

Roselle facing $170,000 budget shortfall

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Although Roselle has seen a modest 1.3 percent rise in several tax revenue streams, officials said Monday it may not be enough to cover a 2013 budget deficit of roughly $170,000.

Roselle's 2013 budget expects just below $14.1 million in revenue, but spending is expected to run nearly $14.3 million, according to village documents.

Of that, personnel costs are 73 percent of the total general fund. And those costs have jumped nearly $240,000, but revenues have increased only about $180,000, creating about 35 percent of the deficit.

During a village board meeting, Village President Gayle Smolinski said she directed staff to create a budget that would continue providing quality services for residents while also paying staff.

She also acknowledged the village cut its full-time staff from 115 to 94 employees in the past three years, as well as eliminating programs like DARE and brush pickup.

"We have $3 million in reserves, and I think it's very good considering we were at $1 million three years ago," Smolinski said.

Village staff on Monday presented officials with reports on revenues and expenditures for 11 key items, like police and fire pensions and the downtown tax increment financing district, which is in its final year.

They also discussed eight potential expenditures not in the budget, such as a study for $15,000 to on establishing a railroad quiet zone, as well as spending $25,000 to bring back Sikich LLC -- which examined village operations last year -- to continue examining how Roselle could run more efficiently.

But implementing all eight programs could push Roselle's shortfall to roughly $370,000.

In addition, trustees discussed the possibility of canceling Roselle's popular mulch delivery program that costs the village $17 per yard cubic yard.

Trustee Terrence Wittman said village staff and trustees have handled Roselle's finances responsibly in the aftermath of the recession, noting health care costs for employees have declined roughly $100,000.

"The reason you have these reserves are for when you have these tough days, and we've been having tough days for three years," Wittman said. "We are good stewards in this state run amok."

But Trustee Kory Atkinson said he believes leaders have been lucky, not skilled, in finding savings. He said may possibly vote in favor of the budget, but said he's uncomfortable with it.

"We are not on the path of long-term fiscal sustainability," Atkinson said. "We have not addressed fundamental structural problems and I'm glad we are moving forward with studies to completely review the village after three years. But I'm not ready to get out the Gatorade and start celebrating."

Smolinski challenged him to present a plan later this month for closing the gap, especially since she does not want to ask for a tax increase. Trustee Andy Maglio supported her.

Atkinson replied that he feels the board has been "knee-jerking" rather than developing a proactive plan.

Roselle held its first budget hearing Nov. 5, Monday was the second discussion. The final discussion will happen directly after the 6 p.m. special meeting on Nov. 26 at Roselle Village Hall, 31 S. Park St.

Residents may review a copy of the 180-page budget at village hall anytime during business hours before the meeting, or see the document online at

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