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updated: 11/27/2012 5:00 PM

Buffalo Grove budget focuses on capital improvements

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Buffalo Grove's spending philosophy next year will place a heavy emphasis on capital projects, while keeping a close watch on personnel costs and relying more heavily on online services to residents.

On Monday, village staff gave trustees a preview of the $61.4 million 2013 budget that is expected to pass next week.

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The budget calls for $3.2 million more spending -- about 5.4-percent -- than the current year's plan, but Village Manager Dane Bragg pointed out that capital projects are up $3.3 million.

"So all of the growth in the total budget is being driven by our commitment to capital investment," Bragg said.

Those capital investments include the village's most ambitious street maintenance program to date, as well as a comprehensive Emerald Ash Borer management program.

The budget presentation garnered praise from village board members who said they recognize the challenges faced in the current economic climate.

"(Staff has) done yeoman's work in trying to formulate a plan to provide the services that our residents have come to expect, at a level of service that they demand with a minimal amount of increased financial impact upon them," Trustee Jeffrey Berman said. "You're doing more with less."

Of that $61.4 million in the spending plan, $33.9 million is earmarked for the general operating fund, an increase of $555,000, or about 1.7 percent, over last year.

After no increase last year, Bragg said the property tax levy will grow 1.5 percent to $14.3 million under the 2013 plan. The tax rate would be 91 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Finance Director Scott Anderson said total revenue is projected at $61.2 million, with less than a quarter derived from property taxes. He emphasized that the village will try to rely less heavily on state shared revenues, such as income tax, and more on local revenue sources such as home rule sales tax and the local food and beverage tax.

Village services will be delivered by a staff that has become increasingly lean. With 311 total employees, Bragg pointed out, the village is at its lowest employee count in more than 15 years.

The plan for 2013 includes more online services for residents, including a system allowing online payment of utility bills. The village also plans to offer mobile apps to residents.

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