Wauconda adopts leaner budget for new fiscal year
Wauconda officials have approved a leaner municipal budget for the 2021 fiscal year that accounts for the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan sets aside nearly $21.5 million for salaries, equipment purchases, sewer improvements and other expenses. That's down more than 6% from the previous year's $23 million estimate.
Revenue is projected to decrease, too, but not as significantly. Officials predict the village will collect about $18.4 million in property taxes, fees and other income. That's down about 1% from the previous year's $18.6 million estimate.
Money from savings will bridge the roughly $3.1 million gap between income and spending, Village Administrator Kevin Timony said.
Trustees unanimously approved the budget Tuesday night. The new fiscal year began May 1.
Municipal and county leaders across the Chicago area are projecting some revenue categories will take big hits because of the pandemic. Retail sales tax, income tax and motor fuel tax all are expected to be lower than usual because of the work and commercial restrictions Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered this spring.
However, Timony told trustees Tuesday that Wauconda's sales tax estimates for March and April were "much higher" than original anticipated.
Likewise, forecasts for income tax and fuel tax are being revised upward.
"It doesn't get us out of the woods, but it is some positive news," Timony said.
On the other hand, the village will freeze water and sewer rates rather than increasing them as planned July 1, Timony said.
The pandemic isn't the only reason for the drop in anticipated spending in Wauconda. A Lake Michigan drinking water system was completed last fall, so money no longer needs to be spent on its construction.
Officials have several capital projects planned for the new fiscal year, including: the purchase of two electric car charging stations for village hall, which will cost $12,000; the decommissioning of four unnecessary shallow water wells, which will cost $143,000; and repairs to storm sewers in the Larkdale neighborhood, which could cost $53,000.
A $30,000 grant from the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission will help cover the cost of the sewer work, Timony said.