By Laura Katauskas | Bugle Staff
The village of Bolingbrook is proposing a balanced budget, with an estimated increase of 7.7 percent.
The increase is in large part due to the continued rise in pension costs, as well as road improvements and the removal and replacement of infected ash trees.
General corporate revenues are projected to increase by $5.3 million from the current fiscal year for a total of approximately $74.4 million. The total 2016-17 budget including all funds and interfund transfers is projected at approximately $142 million.
Taxes make up 88 percent of the general corporate fund’s total revenue. The total proposed levy amount consists of a 15 percent increase for a total levy of approximately $20.4 million. The bulk of this increase is to cover the jump in police and fire pension funding which increased by 32.8 percent or nearly $2 million over last fiscal year.
Four of the village’s six union contracts have expired and the remaining will expire this year. According to the village, the union and administration have not been able to agree on economic terms and are headed to arbitration with both fire and police. Boan points out that the village is now supporting dual payrolls; one for active employees and another for retirees. Currently there are 111 active sworn police employees and 42 retirees; and 86 sworn firefighters and 35 retirees. Total pension costs for 2016 are approximately $9 million; approximately $1 million for IMRF, $4.4 million for police and $3.5 million for fire.
Boan explains that property taxes were projected to increase to $23.8 million due to the increase in pensions, debt service and refuse removal. After careful review and direction by Mayor Roger Claar and staff, through a reduction of the corporate fund balance, interfund transfer and the elimination of some capital items, the staff will be recommending that the village abate part of the tax levy, setting the levy at $20.4 million, a reduction of $3.4 million.
Proposed capital expenditures include $291,000 for eight patrol cars; $282,000 for Bolingbrook Community Television; $982,000 for the fire department and an additional $900,000 to complete repairs at Fire Station #3. The village also has two pending projects waiting for state funds which include St. James Gate/Joliet Road traffic signal and the Rodeo Drive roundabout. If the state does not fund, the village will have to incur the cost.
The village’s main source of revenue is sales tax, making up 40 percent of the general corporate fund’s total revenue with nearly $30 million; hotel tax, $2.1 million; gas tax; $3.6 million; restaurant/liquor tax; $4.4 million; and state income tax at $9.4 million.
However, Village Attorney Jim Boan said the state’s budget stalemate may affect the village.
“This year’s budget is based on state revenues remaining at the same level as currently being received. If a state budget is approved and has a negative impact, an amended budget may have to be adopted mid-year,” explained Boan.
The village also faces unfunded mandates based on decisions made at the state and county levels. The village will lose $100,000 a year in fees charged to residents for the use of a line item for 911, after the state called for a consolidation of statewide charges. The fee was reduced from 90 cents to 75 cents. The village also will have to pick up electronic recycling costs of about $100,000 a year since Will County stopped their electronic recycling program. Illinois mandates a reduction in the waste stream of electronics.
On the flip side, the village is predicting to see a 3 percent increase on the village’s EAV–the first increase the village has seen since the housing market began to decline. The village also projects Real Estate Transfer Stamp revenue to reach $5.2 million, a steady increase over past years with new construction activity. He points to positive signs of economic recovery with the addition of The Tapestry Promenade, Residence Inn, Fountain Square Development and Molto.