Park project fund will help village operate

By on February 19, 2009

by Martha Quetsch
The village of Elburn will use $100,000 previously designated for recreation to help cover its day-to-day operations.

The reason is that village’s general operating fund balance is declining. The fund, which pays staff salaries and other costs related to running the village, totaled $208,000 at the beginning of the village’s fiscal year, April 2008.

“That balance has been depleted to where it is today ($53,056),” Village Administrator David Morrison said Feb. 9.

Village President Jim Willey said the fund in the past typically had a six-figure balance.

Village trustees on Feb. 8 agreed that the village should transfer the sum from the recreation fund to the general operating fund.

The village established the recreation fund several years ago to pay for future park projects. Elburn does not have a park district, nor does it tax residents for recreation.

The village initially supported its recreation fund with 15 percent of its municipal utility taxes. However, the village since then diverted that money into its general operating fund.

So now the recreation fund’s only growth is from interest. The fund’s balance now totals approximately $164,000.

One recreation project village officials considered spending part of that money on was building a skateboard park. However, after spending many meetings over two years debating the proposal, the Village Board tabled it in October 2008. Trustees said that the village might need the more than $100,000 the park could cost for other purposes.

The village expects increasing financial constraints stemming from the residential construction downturn; village revenue has been declining because of a drop in the number of building permits and water and sewer connections for new housing, for which it collects fees, village officials said.

Not only is the village suffering a decline in permit fees, it anticipates that income taxes the village receives (its portion from what the state collects) could drop because of the economy as well.

“We will have to watch that closely,” Morrison said.