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updated: 7/9/2013 6:57 PM

Arlington Hts. ends fiscal year with $3.5 million surplus

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Arlington Heights ended fiscal year 2013 with a $3.5 million surplus, making it the village's strongest financial year since the recession, officials said.

The extra money, mainly due to a number of one-time revenues, will be spent to help pay for long-term capital projects in the village. Those include neighborhood flooding, emerald ash borer and street resurfacing, the village board decided Monday.

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A few board members wanted some money to be allocated to the newly created Affordable Housing Trust Fund, but they were outvoted 5-3.

Finance Director Thomas Kuehne said news of the surplus is good, but surprising, considering the village is still recovering from the recession, along with most of the country.

About $750,000 of the money comes from one-time licenses and fees associated with the Arlington Downs and Lutheran Homes projects, Kuehne said. The moderate winter also led to a $270,000 savings in overtime and salt.

Expenses in the village's general fund came in about $500,000 under budget in salaries and benefits due to employee vacancies, mainly in the police department, that had not been filled, he said. Unanticipated income tax receipts brought in another $725,000.

The village board ultimately decided to split the money, transferring $1 million to the flooding fund to help pay for future flood remediation work and the ongoing sewer backup rebate program.

They also transferred $1 million to the emerald ash borer fund and $1 million to the capital projects fund to provide additional money for street resurfacing.

The board debated using some of the surplus to fund the new Housing Trust Fund but ultimately voted against it.

Trustee Robin LaBedz voted against the money transfers because she wanted to put some money into the housing fund, saying it would show the village was committed to the project.

"Even a small amount could show a big commitment," she said.

Trustees Carol Blackwood and Mike Sidor also voted against the transfer of surplus revenues because it did not include money for the affordable housing fund.

Trustee John Scaletta, however, said he thinks using general fund money for other village priorities is wrong.

The way the affordable housing trust fund is set up, it will draw money from gambling revenue if and when increased gaming, such as slots, are approved for Arlington Park.

"I'm not saying we should never use general fund money, but I don't think we know enough about what our priorities may be in the future to allocate that money now," Village President Tom Hayes said.

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