Village staff members outline proposals for 2019 budget

By Jane Charmelo

Lombardian-Villa Park Review Staff Reporter

At a special meeting on Monday, Aug. 27, the Village of Lombard Board of Trustees listened as department heads outlined budget requests for their respective departments.
According to Finance Director Tim Sexton, the village is looking at a proposed 2019 General Fund budget of just under $36.27 million, which is down nearly $392,000 from last year, or a decrease of 1.07 percent.
Village officials who highlighted budget details each indicated there are fluctuations—increases and decreases—within their budgets, some of which are due to such factors as retirements and other staffing adjustments, and implementation of cost-cutting measures, as well as increases in supply costs.
Assistant Village Manager Nicole Aranas outlined a proposed legislative and executive budget for 2019, saying the request of just over $2.6 million is a decrease of 3.46 percent from last year’s budget.
Any increase in the budget “primarily reflects non-discretionary expenses related to contract wages, benefits and contractual increases,” she wrote in a village memo.
At the same time, the village proposes to eliminate lobbyist services at the end of this year, for a savings of $24,000, she said, along with saving $20,000 in legal services expenses.
Aranas and Communications Coordinator Avis Meade mentioned that the village proposes to reduce the Pride newsletter from quarterly to three times annually, and also plan to reduce the number of pages.
The budget does include a request for $10,000 as a one-time fee to upgrade the employee intranet, which Aranas cited as one of the “challenges” faced by the department, along with the smaller newsletter.
The finance department is looking at an overall increase of .6 percent in requesting just over $2.1 million, and Sexton outlined that the department faces a number of challenges; water meter replacement, a water/sewer rate study and a possible switch to monthly billing, and reducing expenses “to prevent future deficits and prepare for potential local revenue cuts that may be made by the State of Illinois.”
The department, he said, looks at “reducing expenses where we can,” and added that another challenge his office faces is in the area of cybersecurity.
“We’re doing everything we can,” Sexton said, referring to the prevention of hacking and other cyber attacks, “without shutting our system down.”
Bill Heniff, director of community development, said his department is requesting just over $1.72 million, or a .54 percent decrease from last year.
He cited administrative increases, but decreases in code administration, noting that the department has been implementing new software for residents and businesses to submit permits online and track their status, among other functions.
“That helps the residents and business community,” Heniff commented.
Fire Chief Rick Sander is requesting roughly $12.9 million for the fire department, a decrease of 1.82 percent.
Like other departments, fluctuations drive the fire department request, such as unfunded county, state and federal mandates, and continuous preparation to be the village’s “first line of defense.”
He cited the aging fire stations as an ongoing expense, commenting, “We do have to keep putting money into them.”
The department, said the chief, plans to reevaluate the vehicle replacement schedule, asking, “What do we need and how do we best manage that?”
Police Chief Roy Newton’s request for just over $14.591 million also reflects a decrease from last year of 4.73 percent.
Newton said one of the department’s challenges is hiring qualified candidates, and he wants to see the department “maintaining full strength of personnel,” as he anticipates upcoming retirements.
The chief cited as a challenge the 41-year-old police station, and hopes to see the locker room and basement areas remodeled.
Newton said there were fluctuations—increases and decreases—in the areas of police administration, patrol services, criminal investigations, police records, police traffic services and DUI equipment/tech fund costs.
At a prior meeting on Monday, Aug. 20, Carl Goldsmith, director of public works, outlined a request for public works funding of just over $21.784 million, a decrease of 1.61 percent from last year.
Public works covers everything from street maintenance, lighting and traffic signals to water, sewer, landscaping and forestry.
The biggest challenge for public works, according to Goldsmith, is continuing to serve the Lombard community as cost-effectively as possible, “given increased unfunded mandates and regulations.”
Managing the sanitary sewer collection system, maintaining aging facilities, completing a water and sewer rate study and keeping an accurate inventory of assets are among the challenges faced by public works staff, according to Goldsmith.
According to Sexton, the individual department budget request total appears to add up to more than the General Fund figure because “the department totals include all funds, such as the Water and Sewer Fund, Parking Fund and various special revenue funds.”
After the reports, Village Manager Scott Niehaus related that the budget is slated to come before the village board on Nov. 1 for a public hearing and vote on first reading, and then again on Nov. 15 for final approval.
“It’s refreshing to see decreases instead of increases,” Niehaus summed up.


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