Building department staff cut to combat revenue crunch

By on July 24, 2009

Despite other cuts, Elburn budget still in red
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The village of Elburn will have to dip into its reserves to cover spending for its fiscal year 2009-10, even though it has trimmed total staff salaries.

The Village Board on Monday approved an annual budget appropriating spending up to $7.1 million, while revenues are expected to be $4.6 million.

Under the budget appropriation, the village may spend up to $1.7 million on salaries. Village Administrator Erin Willrett said salaries likely would be less than that amount, however, because the village will try to limit part-time and overtime hours.

“We expect the departments to come in below what was requested/appropriated,” Willrett said.

Assistant Village Administrator Dave Morrison said the $7.1 million in expenditures is the appropriated budget amount, which the village could spend but likely won’t.

Staff reductions from the village’s last fiscal year include eliminating the three building department salaries, a $73,000 commissioner job and two building inspector positions that paid $62,000 each. The village will hire a building and zoning code officer for up to $62,000.

“We decided to do away with the Building Department because of economic issues,” Village President Dave Anderson said.

Anderson said with the building decline, the department was overstaffed. The total savings from eliminating the department is approximately $135,000. The village allocated approximately $84,000 for two new public works employees, however.

Another salary reduction is from a lower Police Chief pay. Chief Steve Smith will receive an annual salary of $81,000, compared to former Chief Jim Linane’s salary of $93,000.

As administrator, Willrett will receive a salary of $97,000 compared to the $79,000 she earned last fiscal year in her former position of community development director; Assistant Village Administrator Dave Morrison will receive an annual salary of $93,343 compared to his previous yearly pay of $113,000 as village administrator. The total salary reduction for these top two administrative positions was $2,000.

The village also cut back on Police Department staff, deciding not to fill two recently vacated police positions, the commander’s job formerly held by Smith, and a part-time community service officer position.

Village President Anderson said he regrets that the village could not afford to increase its police staffing this year as Smith requested.

“The money is just not there,” he said.

Village officials attribute the deficit to declining revenue from building fees. To make up the shortage of revenue, the village may have to reduce its reserves from $5 million to approximately $3 million.

Staff pay comprises nearly 25 percent of the budget.

The salaries total this year will include $40,000 the village will remit to former Police Chief Jim Linane, which Morrison said it owes him for compensation time.