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Article updated: 3/6/2013 11:40 PM

Arlington Hts. begins budget process

Arlington Heights village hall.

Arlington Heights village hall.

 

MARK WELSH | Staff Photographer

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Arlington Heights began the budget process for fiscal year 2014 Wednesday with the first in what will a series of public meetings.

The proposed village budget of more than $145.5 million represents a 1.4 percent increase over this year, according to village officials.

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Officials said the increase is due to the costs of dealing with emerald ash borer and the replacement of a 20-year-old fire truck, both of which will cost more than $1 million next year.

"This is our best attempt to predict what the year beginning May 1 will require," said Village Manager Bill Dixon.

With the exception of the unexpected emerald ash borer costs, Finance Director Thomas Kuehne called the 2014 budget a "toe the line" or maintenance budget without any major changes. Of the village's 36,000 parkways trees, 36 percent are ash trees and will need to be removed and replaced for a one-time cost of $11.5 million. The majority of that cost will be covered with a bond sale in 2014, while some will come from the general fund.

There are no staffing changes planned for fiscal year 2014, leaving the village with the same low staffing levels in place since the 2009 fiscal year. Since that year Arlington Heights has cut its full-time staffing level by 45 positions, or 10 percent, officials said.

During Wednesday night's preliminary discussion, trustees recommended approval of the budgets for the board of trustees, village manager's office, human resources and the legal and finance departments.

Trustees and Finance Director Thomas Kuehne noted all-around decreases in printing, postage and photocopying costs as the village moves to electronic communication. Those decreases are expected to continue when the village board begins using electronic packets later this year.

One small but notable change in the budget appears for the first time for 20 years -- $400 added to the office supply budget. When Village President Arlene Mulder retires in May, new letterhead, business cards and other paperwork around village hall will be needed to mark the change in leadership.

The village board's review of the proposed budget will continue at several committee of the whole meetings, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the community room on Monday, March 11; Thursday, March 14; and Wednesday, March 20. The community room is on the third floor of village hall, 33 S. Arlington Heights Road.

The full budget is more than 450 pages long and can also be accessed online.

"While this is not the most interesting thing we do, it is the most important," said Trustee Thomas Glasgow.

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