Grayslake village board members have passed a budget that calls for reduced spending in the next year.
Similar to other towns, Grayslake's 2014-15 budget season begins May 1. Major projects pegged for funding through April 30, 2015, include road upgrades, a bicycle path and demolition of an old gasoline station at Lake Street and Route 120, where a landscaped park will be constructed.
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Total operating expenses are projected at $16.1 million, down roughly $50,000 from the current budget. Officials in the debt-free village said they project the second consecutive year of reduced expenses will amount to a combined savings of nearly $315,100.
On the revenue side, Grayslake expects to collect almost $17 million, up from $16.6 million in the 2013-14 budget.
Mayor Rhett Taylor said there are several reasons for the lean budgets when it comes to spending. He said the village's "productivity and efficiency efforts" have included trimming police sergeant staffing and boosting contracted services.
Village Manager Mike Ellis said the lower operating costs have allowed Grayslake government to complete many community improvement projects without needing more property tax revenue or issuing debt.
"Over the last 20 years or so, these projects have addressed many of the infrastructure issues other towns are now facing like water (and) sewer systems and regular road resurfacing," Ellis said. "Downtown improvement, flood reduction and transportation projects have also been possible."
For the 2014-15 budget season, the village plans to chip in $700,000 -- on top of a $1.4 million federal highway grant -- for an intersection expansion at Route 120 and Lake Street. Additional turn lanes are planned with curb, storm sewer and gutter work.
At the northwest corner of Lake and Route 120, the village intends to demolish the vacant gas station there and redevelop the land into a landscaped park.
About $385,000 has been set aside in the new budget for the park work. Officials said the Esper Petersen Foundation will contribute toward land acquisition and site cleanup.
"The Lake-Route 120 area improvements will improve traffic flow, eliminate a longtime eyesore and create open space," Taylor said.
Grayslake also plans to improve the Lake Street Metra commuter rail station and build a second salt dome for additional storage capacity. The bicycle path is planned to run along Lake Street from Jamestown Court north to Route 83.