Hoffman Estates passes budget, raises levy by 0.6 percent
The Village of Hoffman Estates budget is rising 3.9 percent and the tax levy is rising 0.6 percent, with the latter increase going to pay for a 5.1 percent increase in the cost of police pensions.
Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer
Expenditures in the Hoffman Estates 2013 budget are $204,950 over revenues, but if this year is anything like 2012, there will ultimately be a surplus, according to village officials.
The village board approved the $46.5 million budget — which is a 3.9 percent increase from last year's budget — on Dec. 17 with a 6-1 vote. Ray Kincaid was the only trustee to vote no.
The budget is effective from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Village Manager Jim Norris said it is a continuation of the village's effort in recent years to do more with less.
"We're at the point we can't really cut dramatically more ... without residents feeling an impact," he said.
Since the economic downturn, the village has cut almost 60 full-time employees and made more than $6 million in reductions. At the same time, some revenue sources, such as real estate transfer and building permits — both of which bring in around $400,000 a year compared to more than $1 million a few years ago — still haven't bounced back to pre-recession levels.
In 2012, the village saved money through the lack of spending on snow removal and had extra revenue from a hospital building permit, Norris said.
He is hopeful snow removal costs will remain low through this year too, and expects revenues that started to increase in 2012 — including sales, food and beverage and hotel taxes — will continue to grow.
The 2013 budget includes a staffing reorganization that was well-received by the board, Norris said. It saves about $2,000 per week while adding about 67 hours of work per week.
In 2013, the village will use $459,000 from the general fund for three projects: emerald ash borer response — which includes the removal of about 650 ash trees and replacement of about 160 trees — tree trimming, and the replacement of fans for the village hall's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
Other expenditures include the purchase of a new in-car camera system for police, the purchase of new radios that can be used by police and other village departments and training for four new fire department employees that will be hired through a grant. About 400 sections of sidewalk throughout the village are also expected to be replaced and information systems will be improved.
Norris said the village staff was asked to spread the backlogged five-year capital improvements plan over a seven-to-eight-year period, and projects continue to be pushed back or cut.
Besides approving the budget, the board also agreed to increase the tax levy by 0.6 percent, resulting in little change on property tax bills.
The reason for the increase, Norris said, is a 5.1 percent increase in the cost of police pensions.
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