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posted: 12/4/2012 4:06 PM

Buffalo Grove approves $61.4 million budget, small levy hike

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Buffalo Grove trustees this week approved the village's $61.4 million budget for 2013, an increase of $3.2 million -- or 5.4-percent -- over last year's plan that officials say is going primarily toward funding infrastructure improvements.

Village Manager Dane Bragg noted that capital projects have increased $3.3 million under the new budget to 14 percent of its total.

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The projects -- which include the village's most extensive street maintenance program ever -- are necessary, Village President Jeffrey Braiman said.

"These are things that we need to do," he said. "We have been putting them off, and it has to be done. We need to continue to give our citizens the service that they deserve and that they require, and unfortunately we have to pay for those things."

The village will operate with a staff of 224 full-time and 87 part-time positions. Since 2009, full-time employment has declined 7 percent.

The budget includes $33.9 million for general operations. Bragg said total operating expenses have decreased more than $1 million in the past three years.

The final step in the budget process will take place when village holds a public hearing Dec. 17 on the appropriation ordinance, which will set the legal spending limit for 2013.

The property tax levy is set at $14.7 million, an increase of about 2.7 percent -- $384,000 in all -- from last year's levy. But the village board is expected to approve abatements in two weeks that will lower the levy by $382,000, leaving the increase at just over 1 percent.

Finance Director Scott Anderson said the levy will be extended against a tax base of $1.5 billion, a 5 percent decrease from the previous year. It was less of a drop than the year before that, when it declined by 6.8 percent.

"This would be the third year in a row of decreasing property values," Anderson said.

The tax rate will be 93.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, up from about 85.5 cents last year.

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