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updated: 8/15/2014 5:52 PM

Lombard budget up 2 percent

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A vote on Lombard's 2015 budget isn't scheduled to take place for another four months, but the village board is already discussing it in great detail.

Overall, proposed expenditures in the general fund total $36.5 million, 2 percent increase from this year's budget. Proposed revenues in the general fund are budgeted to be about $36.3 million, a 7 percent increase.

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While the difference between expenditures and revenues is about $176,000, Director of Finance Timothy Sexton said village officials consider the budget to be balanced because a 25 percent fund balance is expected.

"You can kind of think of it as, your general fund is like your checking account. Fund balance is like savings," he said. "The general fund is paying for $36 million in expenses. The 25 percent fund balance is 25 percent of that $36 million, and it's set aside in the savings account."

Non-discretionary expenses -- or spending that the village is required to do or the board has chosen to do by policy, such as employing a minimum of 67 police officers -- account for 88 percent of the general fund's expenditures.

Discretionary expenses, such as travel, subscriptions and postage, are budgeted to increase only by about $25,000 this year, totaling out to about $4.4 million, as they did in the 2014 budget.

"It's a good conservative budget," said Trustee Peter Breen, finance committee chairman. "It meets our needs."

On Thursday, the legislative and executive, community development and police departments gave presentations about their budget requests.

The legislative and executive budgets don't show any substantive changes, but they include the possible addition of employees for the Lombard Historical Society and the launch of a new wellness program for village staff.

Police Chief Raymond Byrne said the police department budget is also staying mostly level, but he hopes this year to explore the option of getting an officer on a federal task force, to provide an opportunity for training and, potentially, new revenue.

The community development department's budget is increasing by more than 4 percent, which officials say is due to raises, reallocation of tax increment financing and general fund expenditures and additional technology.

The village was the recipient of a distinguished budget presentation award for last year's budget.

The award -- which requires budget documents to be rated "proficient" in four categories, and met 14 mandatory criteria within those categories -- was given by the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada.

The board will host another budget workshop next Thursday at 7 p.m. to hear presentations from the finance, public works and fire departments. A public hearing will be held on Nov. 20 and final approval is expected Dec. 4.

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