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updated: 3/16/2014 6:12 AM

How Carpentersville is plugging $429,000 deficit

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Facing a projected general fund budget deficit of $429,000, Carpentersville officials support a cost-savings package that includes delaying an anticipated dog park, paying a portion of an administrator's salary from another fund and using cash reserves.

Those recommendations, which the audit and finance commission heard Saturday, are in addition to the layoffs, the elimination of several vacant positions and the job reassignments Village Manager J. Mark Rooney announced last month that affect the police, fire, information technology and finance departments. The five planned layoffs are in the police and fire departments.

At the same time, the commission on Saturday agreed to hire a part-time training officer for the fire department estimated to cost $34,986. Now, the training falls on lieutenants, which results in increased overtime costs for them, Public Safety Director Al Popp said.

Money saved from the expected layoff of two ambulance billing clerks and reduced overtime from the lieutenants would fund that position, Popp said.

Popp acknowledged the hire comes during a difficult time for the fire department, which will also likely lose two full-time firefighters during layoffs.

"But in the grand scheme of things, we have to invest in the people to make sure that we're giving the residents the caliber of quality service that they so richly deserve," Popp said.

"I mean, we've got to make sure we're giving them what they're paying for."

The village's audit and finance commission also agreed to shelve plans for a $30,000 dog park and to move about $13,000 of Assistant Village Manager Joe Wade's salary to a budget line generated from a tax increment financing district, since he does a lot of work with the TIF district funds, Finance Director Cathy Haley explained.

The village still has a budget gap of about $201,000, Rooney said.

That figure could change, he said, depending on whether the union that represents the 32 full-time fighters goes to arbitration over the intended layoffs of the two firefighters, whose last scheduled day is March 28.

Union President Lt. Rick Nieves confirmed that the union filed a grievance because it doesn't believe the village is facing a true economic hardship to justify the layoffs.

The union is in discussions with village management and has had two meetings thus far, Nieves said. Another meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.

Rooney said savings without arbitration costs would range between $100,000 and $110,000. With arbitration and related overtime costs, those savings could drop to $50,000, he said.

Either way, the village would use money from its cash reserves to balance the budget, he said.

"We have a structural deficit," Rooney said. "That's why that issue with the personnel cuts is tough. But you can't run a structural deficit. Unless you want to end up like Detroit. Or Stockton, Calif." Those two cities filed for bankruptcy.

The next budget hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at village hall.

The board will take a final vote on the budget April 1. The new fiscal year begins May 1.

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