Forest Park’s village government has a chronic operating deficit issue. No one debates it. It’s as real as the red numbers on the page. And very few people would argue that the village government is spending wildly and needs to substantively cut costs.
The need then is for added revenues. As a non-home rule community, Forest Park has limited options on raising revenues via higher taxes or new fees on services. Facing a notable budget shortfall in the year ahead, the village council has already hiked a number of fees. That’s good and it is necessary.
Now the mayor and council are looking at the possibility of adding a new fee on sewer use. In our view, overdue. The council voted unanimously this month to have its engineering firm present sewer fee comparisons to other communities and to propose multiple options for how new charges might be levied. There has been some Facebook chatter that the village is overpaying for this study and proposal and the cost, at $24,500, seems like a high margin sale for Christopher Burke Engineering. But that’s micromanaging a relationship the village government clearly values with its consultant.
The point is that there are direct costs associated with operating, and investing in, an aging sewer system. And in this ala carte age, taxpayers need to pay those fees.
Move this ahead.