Buffalo Grove expects historic spending on infrastructure in 2020
Buffalo Grove is looking ahead to a year of unprecedented spending on water, sewer and street projects.
"In 2020, the village will kick off its largest capital program in our 61-year history," Village Manager Dane Bragg told the village board at the opening of a budget hearing Monday.
Bragg said the board will consider a $24 million bond issue in the first quarter of 2020. That money would fund $14 million in water and sewer system upgrades and $10 million for street projects, he said.
That would be the start of a five-year infrastructure modernization initiative in which the village expects to invest more than $50 million in water, sewer and street upgrades.
Bragg on Monday presented a 2020 budget proposal that projects $85 million in revenue, a 3.9% increase over the previous year, and $80 million in spending, about 3.6% more than 2019. The surplus, officials say, will go toward police and firefighter pension obligations.
Pensions also play a huge role in the village's 3.9% property tax levy hike. The village plans to levy more than $17 million in property taxes.
"Pension costs are entirely driving the levy increase," Bragg said.
The general fund budget, which includes dollars for public safety and public works, will see a 2% increase, to $45 million, officials say.
Bragg made it clear that the budget, if approved, will not be a finished document. Amendments will be needed to account for revenues from recently approved sources, including a hike in the water and sewer rates, the new local motor fuel tax and the tax on sales of recreational marijuana.
"This budget is far from done," he said. "Our budget really is a planning document for this year, and you will have a number of items that you will need to consider in 2020."
Trustee Andrew Stein expressed some strong opinions regarding personnel costs, especially relating to cost-of-living increases in the budget. Nonunion employees would receive a 2.25% general wage increase under the plan.
Although saying the village needs to pay its employees a decent wage, he said the village should replace cost-of-living raises with merit increases.