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updated: 6/11/2014 6:34 PM

Arlington Hts. $4.5 million surplus goes to roads, trees, flooding

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Arlington Heights ended the 2014 fiscal year April 30 with a $4.5 million surplus thanks to several one-time revenues and savings, funds officials decided this week to split four ways.

Village trustees voted Monday to dedicate $600,000 of the surplus to emerald ash borer remediation, $1 million to flood relief efforts, $1.4 million to the fleet fund and $1.2 million for capital projects, including fixing streets ravaged by the rough winter.

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Money transferred for flooding will go into the Flood V Fund, which will be used pending several studies officials are expected to review later this summer.

"Flooding is something we know is going to be big dollars down the road," said Trustee Bert Rosenberg. "None of us know what those numbers are. I think we're all going to fall off our chairs when we see it."

The fleet fund pays for new village vehicles when older ones are phased out of service.

The money transferred to the Capital Projects Fund will help pay for the village's plan to resurface 9.2 miles of village streets next year.

Among the sources of the surplus were additional revenues from natural gas utility taxes due to the unusual winter, and higher than average building permit fees because of the large projects at Arlington Downs and Lutheran Homes, said Finance Director Thomas Kuehne. Job vacancies that were not filled during fiscal year 2014 also added to the surplus.

Several trustees said they wanted to put the money toward next year's budget in an effort to keep the tax levy from rising next year.

"I want a goose egg, a zero tax increase. Maybe we don't need to do a levy next year, that, to me, would be wonderful to do," said Trustee Jim Tinaglia.

However, Kuehne said that was not the best financial choice.

"It is not a sustainable budget to go down that road," he said. "In two years the surplus won't be there and you are going to be digging yourselves out of a hole because expenses continue to go up, but that extra revenue won't be there. I think it is fraught with danger to do something like that."

The final transfer tally was a bit different from the original staff recommendation, which had more money going toward emerald ash borer than streets.

"From a resident perspective, I think the major issues are flooding and fixing the roads," Trustee Carol Blackwood said.

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