Whether it's repairing sewer mains, planting trees or fixing pot holes, the village of Wilmette isn't planning on cutting essential services from their 2012 budget, officials said Thursday night.
After a two-hour workshop at village hall, board members unanimously approved scheduling the budget proposal for a final vote at their Nov. 22 meeting. The proposal calls for a property tax increase of 3.69 percent, the lowest percentage increase since 1999, said Village Manager Timothy J. Frenzer.
The tax hike would cost Wilmette homeowners an estimated $50 more each year, bringing the village an additional $500,000.
Read more: The 2012 Budget Online
“The recession that we find ourselves in continues to impact the village with key revenues well below their pre-recession levels,” Frenzer said at a board meeting Tuesday night. “However, since the onset of the recession the village board has challenged us to maintain all of our services, while, at the same time, managing to the numbers.”
'Taking it to the Streets'
The numbers for larger infrastructure improvements are as follows:
- $1 million for street resurfacing and improvements
- $900,000 for sewer lining and restoration
- $375,000 for alley improvements
- $110,000 for brick-street maintenance, sidewalk and curb repair, pavement marking and crack sealing.
To put three new police cars on the street, the village foresees spending $121,000, Frenzer said. The proposal, also, includes $25,000 for new snowplow blades.
Unlike extensive roadwork the village has undertaken in the recent past—such as the nearly two-year Sheridan Road project—projects next year are for standard upkeep, noted Brigitte Mayerhofer, director of engineering for the village.
The proposal puts funds at $56 million, according to official estimates, roughly $2 million less than last year. Moreover, the general fund will have $31 million, once the budget takes effect.
“For those of you...that have access to the internet, I would strongly urge you to take a look at the ,” said Village President Christopher Canning. “It is a very clear explanation of how the budget was put together.”
“We appreciate any input you can give us before we vote on the budget,” Canning said at the last board meeting.
Though Wilmette's unemployment rate is 7.2 percent as of August, residents are still demanding the services they've been getting, said Village Finance Director Bob Amaruso.
“I think it's a reasonable budget for this community in this economy,” Amoruso said. “It would be very easy for any of our 27,000 residents...to say, 'you know, we need to cut out the services; we need to stop doing that.”
“Frankly, we never hear that," Amoruso added. "Nobody really wants any of their services cut.”
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