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posted: 8/18/2013 6:00 AM

No shame in responsible budgeting

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Recently an article was published stating that Hainesville has more money in reserve than needed.

Many municipalities did not appear on the radar with "surplus funds" due to the fact that they have separate "Capital Improvement Funds." These funds are earmarked for specific municipal projects.

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Hainesville, like many small communities, has these lumped together and only as recently as 1999-2000 had any savings at all. We are working to separate these funds so that monies are "formally" earmarked for specific capital improvement projects. These funds will be reduced this year with the recent water tower painting project in excess of $300,000 along with other planned projects.

The board and staff are currently working on a long- and short-term plan for infrastructure replacements and improvements. There will be little money left that does not have a specific purpose.

I want to be crystal clear that we would never consider keeping only two months' worth of operating expenses in savings. To us, this would be a breach of our fiduciary responsibility! Six months to a year is what should be expected and in the current economic climate in Illinois, we are sticking to a year.

EAVs have been dropping, which reduces our property tax revenue. Hainesville being sympathetic to our residents lowered the village tax levy two years ago. Hainesville has a small business district and therefore does not receive a lot of sales tax revenue. For the past several years, we have spent a lot of time fighting to keep our portion of the sales tax revenue that Springfield wants to take away.

So yes, we have money in the bank. We also pay our bills and have little debt! We explore opportunities to save money while maintaining or enhancing the quality of life in Hainesville. No shame here!

Linda Soto, Mayor

Village of Hainesville

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