Island Lake expenses, income holding steady
There's some good news for financially struggling Island Lake: The projected expenses for the soon-to-start 2016 fiscal year are about the same as they have been in 2015.
The bad news is, revenue doesn't seem to be growing, either.
Officials are predicting the village will need to spend about $7.6 million on employee salaries, road repairs, equipment and other purchases and projects in the upcoming fiscal year, which starts May 1.
They also think the town will collect about $7.6 million in taxes and fees.
"We (are attempting) to balance the budget, and therefore (we) have no large differences," Treasurer Ed McGinty said before the village finance committee's budget-planning session Thursday night.
Both estimated totals match the figures in the 2015 budget.
Despite the year-to-year financial stagnation, McGinty said he believes the village's financial outlook is improving.
"(We are) matching our current revenues with the current expenses and being fiscally responsible to our taxpayers to maintain this financial goal," he said.
One of the bigger projects in the proposed budget concerns water service. Homes on Burnett Road and Ralph Court will be connected to a new water main over the next year, Public Works Director Brian Bartnick said.
It's part of a larger, villagewide project that should help reduce water main breaks, Bartnick said.
The work in those two neighborhoods will cost about $531,000, McGinty said.
The village's income stream is particularly uncertain because of Gov. Bruce Rauner's plan to reduce state revenue for municipalities.
"Right now, we don't know what's going to happen," McGinty said Thursday night.
Four additional budget meetings are scheduled for:
• 10 a.m. Saturday.
• 7 p.m. Monday.
• 7 p.m. Tuesday.
• 7 p.m. Wednesday.
All four sessions are at village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave., and are open to the public.
The full board could approve the budget April 23.
Island Lake officials have spent years fretting about the town's finances after some questionable money moves.
Most significantly, a 2013 audit revealed the police pension fund was short hundreds of thousands of dollars because regular payments weren't made into the account for years.
Officials blamed unusually high legal bills for the pension shortfall, saying money that should have gone to retired police officers was used to pay lawyers instead.