With his first year steering Arlington Heights on the books, Mayor Tom Hayes touted the village's finances and looked ahead to plans for a new police station in his inaugural State of the Village address Thursday.
Last April, Hayes became the village's first new mayor in two decades, succeeding longtime mayor Arlene Mulder, who did not run for re-election.
"I won't be as lengthy as my predecessor has been I think over the past number of years that she gave this address," Hayes joked before his speech to the Arlington Heights Rotary Club.
The mayor said the village's financial outlook is strong after years of cutbacks during the economic downturn. The $154.5 million budget -- starting May 1 -- represents a 3.4 percent decrease over the previous year as the village refinanced debt and wrapped up capital projects.
"We are really down to the bare bones in terms of just providing the basic services that the village is really obligated to provide," Hayes said.
Facing less resources in the community development department, the village and the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce teamed up for a new program to retain small businesses, the mayor highlighted Thursday. The partnership drew praise from business leaders in the crowd.
"Together, we can come up with better solutions," said James Thomson, the owner of an insurance company on Vail Street.
One of the village's immediate tasks is finding a successor to Bill Dixon, who announced this week he will retire in June after 21 years as village manager. Officials will hire a firm to conduct a national search, although candidates for the job could come from within the village ranks, Hayes said.
"(Dixon is) going to be a tough act to follow," he said.
By the end of the year, officials also will identify the location of a new police station. Officers would not move into a facility until May 2019, Hayes said.
The mayor acknowledged concerns about the price tag. Earlier estimates pegged the construction cost at $40 million, but Hayes said that figure now stands closer to $22 million.
The village's preference is building at the station's current site, 200 E. Sigwalt St. But the footprint of the 1970s-era building is too small, Hayes said.
"Many of you know the really dire need for replacing that facility," he said.