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updated: 11/19/2013 6:37 PM

Buffalo Grove expects balanced budget, fewer employees in 2014

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The Buffalo Grove village board is expected to vote on a balanced budget Dec. 2.

Village Manager Dane Bragg told trustees Monday night that his staff worked hard to avoid a projected $1.6 million deficit, by, among other measures, streamlining village services through centralized purchasing and updating fees and fines to be competitive with other communities.

Bragg said village staff will be leaner by 10 positions through attrition, bringing the total number of employees to 297, below 300 for the first time in more than a decade.

But he warned that avoiding future deficits will get harder unless the village finds additional revenue. In fact, he said, things could get very rough by 2017.

"By 2017, we will again be in budget deficit territory," he said. "Absent any incremental revenue growth, the village cannot balance the budget in 2017 and beyond, without either raising property taxes or severely impacting services to our residents. The fact is that we have cut and cut and cut the last few years."

With a stagnant to declining sales tax base, the village faces the challenge posed by three Dominick's stores closing, while no developments are pending to replace the now vacant auto dealerships on Dundee Road.

"The bottom line is that the village is going to have to be more aggressive in attracting retail sales tax generating development to this community," Bragg said.

Finance Director Scott Anderson outlined a budget that includes $66 million in revenues against $63 million in expenses. The lion's share of the budget -- about $37 million -- is in the corporate fund, which pays for items such as public works and public safety.

Under the proposal, the tax levy would be about $14.6 million, an increase of 1.85 percent.

Village trustees, who have spent long hours reviewing the budget, praised Bragg and Anderson for their work to balance it.

"We set a very aggressive tone to the budget process. We challenged the staff to meet some very difficult milestones, very difficult levels for the budget. And I think that you, Scott, and you, Dane, and the rest of the staff have done an excellent job in meeting those objectives and bringing forward a balanced budget in a challenging environment," Trustee Jeffrey Berman said.

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