In a brief but sweeping village council meeting Monday, commissioners approved a $21 million budget, increased fees for parking and garbage disposal, and signed off on a pilot program intended to ease congestion along Madison Street.
Each of the issues has been the subject of previous discussions in recent months and there was little debate preceding several of the votes.
Council members met twice for lengthy hearings on the 2008 budget prior to adopting the spending plan on Monday. According to preliminary drafts, village officials expect revenues to increase by some 13 percent over the 2007 figures. Spending is expected to jump 12 percent.
Some of the roughly $1.8 million in new spending has been inherited by the current council, which was voted into office just weeks before the previous fiscal year ended on April 30. A $315,000 check was written by the previous council to purchase a dilapidated property at 1000 Beloit Ave., presumably for the purpose of rehabbing the site into a police substation.
Also, the village’s liability insurance premium has increased 20 percent, or $103,000 over last year’s cost, due in part to several lawsuits filed against the village by former employees and elected officials. The new premium stands at $599,000, according to village records.
The 2008 budget received a unanimous approval.
As discussed during those same budget hearings, councilors signed off on several fee increases to help offset expenses. Perhaps most importantly, rates for garbage collection will be increased in an effort to salvage a program described by officials as a money pit.
Trash collection and the recycling program have been subsidized to the tune of $497,000 each year for a number of years. The program costs the village $870,000 annually, however, only $373,000 is paid for by fees charged to residents. Mayor Anthony Calderone urged council members to approve the fee increases to prevent the village’s reserve fund from literally going into the trash.
“Eventually you use up your rainy day fund and then you have the public scrutinizing your elected officials, wanting to know what happened to the rainy day fund,” Calderone said.
Effective Aug. 1 of this year, residents will be charged a bi-monthly fee of $16.82 for rubbish collection. On Jan. 1, 2008, the fee will increase to $21, and on Jan. 1, 2009, it will spike again to $25.08.
Seniors, meanwhile, will see an initial increase to $16.82 for trash collection, but that fee will remain fixed over the three-year period.
Fees associated with yard waste collection will also be increased. As of Aug. 1, residents will pay $3.18. On Jan. 1, 2008, the figure increases to $3.30 and then $3.42 on Jan. 1, 2009.
Seniors, again will see an initial increase but their fee will remain fixed at $3.18 for the next three years.
“It’s going to be a little bit of a hot topic,” Calderone said of the fee increases.
In 2010 when the newly adopted rate schedule expires, the village will also have a chance to renegotiate its contract with trash hauler Allied Waste.
On the parking front, after years without an increase to the cost of village-issued permits, commissioners approved a rate increase. Effective immediately, daytime parking permits will be $20 per month, overnight permits will be $25 per month and 24-hour permits will cost $40 per month.
If purchased quarterly, residents will receive a $5 discount off the three-month purchase price. Village seniors age 65 and older will receive the same quarterly discount, however, the monthly purchase price is $10, $20 and $30 respectively.
Commissioners also authorized village staff to begin printing and distributing parking stickers that will give employees of Madison Street the opportunity to park along Jackson and Adams streets without fear of being ticketed. The permits are valid from 5 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, and until 3:30 a.m. on weekends. Non-metered parking on Madison Street was also extended to three hours.