Village budget process may be affected by state financial problems

By on March 15, 2013

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—If Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is successful, Elburn and other Illinois municipalities will see a decrease in their share of the state income taxes in the coming fiscal year.

According to an alert from the Illinois Municipal League, the Governor’s Office is proposing to cap the LGDF (Local Government Distributive Fund) at the 2012 level of $81 per resident.

The current level for Elburn for 2013 is $90 per person, a total of $504,180, based on a population of 5,602. If the cap is implemented, Elburn’s share of the Illinois income taxes would be reduced by $11.50 per person, for a total loss of $64,423. The projection for fiscal year 2013-14 had been $95.40 per person.

“That’s a pretty big hit on our revenue,” said Doug Elder, who has taken on Village Administrator Erin Willrett’s responsibilities while she has been on leave. “The state’s unresolved financial problems have placed the LGDF at great risk.”

Calling it a “bombshell” from the state, Elder encouraged the trustees to call their state legislators and the governor to tell them that the decrease is unacceptable.

The Village Board reviewed the revenue portion of the operating budget on Monday. The water and sewer fees, which residents pay based on their usage, make up 33 percent of the village’s budget. The majority of the remainder of the revenues is made up of taxes, such as property taxes, sales tax, income tax, utility tax, court fines and others.

The equalized assessed value for the village of Elburn, on which the property taxes are based, has gone down each year since the economy took a hit in 2008.

“That’s a total loss of more than 20 percent,” trustee Bill Grabarek said.

Although the EAV has been going steadily down since 2008, property tax rates have been going up, resulting in higher property taxes on existing property owners and an overall net increase in village revenues.

The board has previously reviewed the draft budgets of the individual village budgets, and will take a look at the big picture at the March 25 meeting.

The proposed appropriation ordinance shows the maximum amount approved by the board that may be spent on specific items, and the operating budget is the day-to-day guide for how the village will spend its money.

The appropriation ordinance will be available for public inspection in Elburn Village Hall from March 26 through April 15, with a public hearing on April 1.

The Village Board will vote on the appropriation ordinance and the budget at its April 15 meeting, and the fiscal year will begin on May 1.