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posted: 4/2/2013 1:05 AM

Gurnee budget allots more money for more school officers, street work

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  • Gurnee Police Chief Kevin Woodside

      Gurnee Police Chief Kevin Woodside

 
 

Gurnee trustees have given approval for a new $56.2 million budget that includes money for projected expenses ranging from hiring more school resources officers to street resurfacing.

Trustees at a meeting Monday night voted 5-0 in favor of the budget after giving it a final review. Gurnee's new budget year starts May 1 and runs through April 30, 2014.

Among the budget highlights is the plan to add two school resource officers.

Gurnee police have budgeted an extra $365,800 for salaries, going to $7.7 million. The 5 percent hike for salaries is primarily attributed to the planned hiring of the two officers who would serve Woodland Elementary District 50, Gurnee Elementary District 56 and Warren Township High School District 121.

Plans call for the three school districts serving Gurnee to pay 50 percent of the cost for the two new hires. When classes are not in session over the summer, the officers would shift to the Visitor Oriented Policing Team.

"All of the school districts have indicated they're favorable to a multiyear agreement," Gurnee Police Chief Kevin Woodside said.

If hired, the officers would have training to specialize in school safety.

"While primarily a law enforcement officer, he or she will also serve as a liaison with the district staff and as a resource to the faculty and students," the budget document says.

Infrastructure preservation and upgrades of equipment and facilities have significant attention in the new budget, with $5.6 million set aside for the effort. In particular, roughly $2.5 million earmarked for lotted for street resurfacing, sidewalk repairs, stormwater detention and floodplain acquisition.

About $2.5 million will go toward a reimbursement to Gurnee Mills' parent company, Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, for upgrades and preparation work that was deemed necessary to attract a Macy's department store opening later this year. The $2.5 million is part of loan the village received through a bond sale.

On the revenue side, 47 percent of the projected $54.7 million is expected from sales, amusement, hotel and food and beverage taxes. Village Administrator Patrick Muetz said even though expenditures are projected at $56.2 million, the budget is considered balanced because the money going to the Gurnee Mills redevelopment accounting for the gap is from the loan obtained from the bond sale.

Sales tax is projected to tick up from $16.3 million to $16.6 million for the new budget year starting May 1.

Gurnee is one of five communities in Illinois not levying a property tax, according to village research. It'll be the 13th consecutive budget year Gurnee that has not used a property tax.

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