Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio highlighted many positives during his State of the Village address Wednesday, but emphasized "it's not where you've been, it's where you're going."
"The truth is, there's a lot of hard work ahead," he said to roughly 100 people at the Crowne Plaza in Glen Ellyn. "But the important thing is we're not ignoring it. We're choosing to be responsible and proactively identifying solutions."
In particular, finances will pose a major challenge for the village in the year ahead. While the 2016 budget is balanced, there is a projected $1.6 million deficit for 2017.
"It's a big number, I know," Giagnorio said. "But this is where our finance committee has already started reviewing all kinds of options and has begun taking a hard look at potential expenditure reductions, revenue increases and service level modifications."
Proposals to reduce the amount of money the village receives from the state could result in a loss of more than $2.6 million in annual revenue, too.
Giagnorio took a look "behind the scenes" during his speech, commending the work of the village's 279 staff members and more than 80 residents serving on village committees.
"If you want to see true democracy in action in the village of Lombard, go to one of our committee meetings," he said, adding that village board meetings are often short and without conflict because the committees already have vetted the issues.
Giagnorio said the community relations committee has helped ramp up the village's social media activity; the community promotions and tourism committee awarded eight grants to draw more visitors to town; and the public works and environmental concerns committee has addressed numerous projects, including the start of a 2-year project to line the water mains along the Roosevelt Road corridor.
As for community development, the village has issued more than 2,500 permits in the past year, which Giagnorio said was "the largest total in a decade."
"These weren't simple fence permits," he said. "These permits represent private investments of over $82 million in property improvements in the community."
In addition, new residential projects are under way, construction is scheduled to begin this summer on a new Sam's Club on Butterfield Road and 148 new or relocated businesses -- including two from Sweden and Japan -- have opened in the village.