Buffalo Grove board passes budget, minus community engagement hire

Posted12/5/2018 1:00 AM

Buffalo Grove leaders approved a $78 million budget Monday, but it was the roughly $100,000 not included in the spending plan that got much of their attention.

Before village trustees voted in favor of the budget, Village Manager Dane Bragg said he would hold off on the proposed hiring of a community engagement manager until obtaining consensus and direction from the village board.

Earlier budget proposals included the position, at a cost of about $100,000 a year, to coordinate a video strategy, reach out to community groups, boost volunteerism and bring more diversity to the community's volunteer base.

Several village trustees last month questioned the need. Among them was Trustee Jeffrey Berman, who on Monday said he would have voted against the budget had the proposed hire been left in the plan.

"I'm still not convinced this is the wisest path to go on," he said. "I remain open to being convinced on some other pathway to get the job done."

Along with the $78 million in spending, the budget calls for $82 million in revenues, with the surplus going to the reserves for pension and capital funds.

Trustee Joanne Johnson said residents should be pleased with the positives in the budget. She mentioned the increased pension fund contribution of $290,000, which, she said, reduces future liability spiking.

"This puts us in a more favorable financial position as state mandates approach for pension funding," she said.

She also noted the estimated fund balance of nearly $19 million, 40 of the upcoming year's expenses, and growing revenues from new businesses such as Woodman's Food Market, Business IT Source and ThermFlow.

"That takes pressure off a lot of the taxpayers," she said.

The village did not issue any new debt, retired 27 percent of its total debt and passed a property tax rate decrease of 0.3 percent. Johnson added.

"How many taxing bodies can make that statement in this era?"

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