Bartlett drops utility taxes, adopts $101.6 million budget
Bartlett trustees unanimously repealed the village's natural gas and electricity taxes Tuesday, before passing an overall annual budget by a 5-1 vote.
Trustee Vince Carbonaro dissented on the $101.6 million budget, saying he believes the village is deferring purchases like squad cars in the interest of saving money, though greater savings could be achieved by buying them earlier.
"We're nickeling-and-diming the small stuff," Carbonaro said after the vote. "Where's the logic? It gets to the point where it's aggravating."
His vote against the budget was in no way a criticism of the plan to swap the village's two utility taxes for a recently approved 1-percent sales tax, Carbonaro said.
"That was a victory for us," he said.
Trustee Adam Hopkins voiced the same sentiment.
"Taxing something that's a necessity is just wrong," he said.
The swap of utility taxes for sales tax is expected to add $1 million to the village's revenues and end reserve spending, Village Administrator Paula Schumacher said.
Village board members said the sales tax that takes effect July 1 gives consumers greater discretion. It also excludes groceries, gasoline and medical purchases.
Among the reasons for the village's recent reserve spending is the state's 2017 decision to make a 10 percent cut to the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF), costing Bartlett $400,000 for the year.
Over the course of three meetings in March, the village board trimmed $269,000 in spending from the originally proposed 2018-19 budget that takes effect May 1. Among the cuts were two police vehicles, a dump truck with a plow, and a variety of smaller equipment and services.
But the budgeted real estate transfer tax revenue was increased by $25,000 to $645,000 and building permit revenue by $50,000 up to $690,000.