Palatine plans to hire police and firefighters
Palatine is planning no increase in the property tax levy next year, when it also plans to fill three firefighter and two police officer positions kept vacant this year.
The proposed 2022 budget totals $125 million, a 5.8% increase over this year's $118.1 million budget. The latter was leaner than normal due to the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This would be the second consecutive year that the village keeps its property tax levy flat, after raising it from 2018 to 2020 to pay for increases in public safety pension contributions.
Village Manager Reid Ottesen presented the proposed budget Saturday during a special meeting of the village council's business finance and budget committee. The committee had a brief follow-up discussion during the council meeting Monday.
By the end of 2022, the village would have $20.7 million in reserves in its general fund, which pays for day-to-day operations. That represents close to four months' expenses.
Fire Chief Patrick Gratzianna said the fire department plans to fill three open positions. Additionally, the department will examine how to staff part-time fire prevention inspectors and will review and possibly reconfigure its response areas, he said.
The fire department also plans to tap into the Ground Emergency Medical Transport -- a federal funding program that allows reimbursement of costs associated with the transport of Medicaid patients -- which is expected to bring in an additional $500,000 per year, Gratzianna said.
The police department, down two officers this year, plans to add one full-time officer and hire three part-time police assistants in lieu of a second full-timer, Police Chief Dave Daigle said. Two part-timers would be assigned to the midnight shift, where they could take care of administrative tasks that are time-consuming for sworn officers; the third would be assigned to the afternoon shift for response to things like animal control and rush-hour traffic, he said.
The police department also plans the "exciting" addition of an all-electric motorcycle unit that will patrol areas such as the northeast side of town, Daigle said.
The village council will hold a public hearing about the budget on Nov. 15 and is expected to adopt the document on Dec. 6.