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updated: 4/7/2014 9:29 PM

Pingree Grove looking at capital expenses

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The village of Pingree Grove is getting ready to work on a five- to 10-year capital plan in an effort to solidify its financial practices.

The village board just hired Finance Director Thomas Walter, who previously served as CFO of the now-closed Larkin Center in Elgin. His first day on the job was March 31.

Walter said he recommended that board members begin to review the budget quarterly. He also will be working on making the budget available for ongoing, timely review by department heads, he said. "That's one of the key things," he said.

Pingree Grove's proposed budget for the fiscal year 2014-15, which starts May 1, includes a balanced general fund of $1.95 million, a $40,000 increase over the current fiscal year's general fund.

The general fund accounts for the village's day-to-day expenses, including administration, police and public works.

The fund includes $50,000 set aside for capital projects; the goal is to increase that to $200,000 to $250,000 over time, Village President Greg Marston said.

The water and sewer fund, the village's second-largest fund, is also balanced at $1.26 million with a $66,500 surplus.

The village's overall $4.8 million budget for fiscal year 2014-15 accounts for about $673,000 in expenses over revenues, all due to proposed capital projects and purchases, Walter said.

However, the board will review financial statements as the year progresses before approving any large expenses, he said.

"The key point is, you do not spend money unless you have it," he said.

Among the largest budgeted expenses are nearly $400,000 to paint the water tower, and $115,000 to conduct a special census, Interim Village Administrator Carol Lussky said.

Other proposed expenses are a third snowplow and the rehabilitation of one of the village's two water wells, officials said.

The upcoming budget also includes salaries for a new public works director and communications specialist.

A candidate for the public works position has been selected, and a job offer will be made Tuesday, Marston said. The second position might be filled in the 60 days, although the board might wait longer, he said.

The village board is expected to approve the budget after a public hearing April 21.

The current fiscal year is projected to end April 30 with a deficit of about $524,000, most of it due to new traffic lights installed at the intersection of Reinking Road and Route 72, Marston said.

That project was funded by impact fees previously garnered from developer D.R. Horton and the Cambridge Lakes development, he said.

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