Hitting deadline, village passes appropriation ordinance

Commissioner of Accounts and Finance votes no, stays mum on why

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No public comments were made during an appropriation ordinance meeting on July 27. At the village council meeting immediately following, the ordinance was approved 4 to 1, with no discussion, including no comment from Commissioner of Accounts and Finance Dan Novak who cast the sole vote against the ordinance.

Novak also did not respond to the Review with a comment or statement about why he didn't support the appropriation ordinance, leaving a mystery about his reasoning for casting a dissenting vote.

Two budget meetings were held prior to the appropriations hearing, one on June 17 and a second on July 17, both relatively short. At the first meeting, Novak addressed the other commissioners, referring to the large deficit the village was adopting and asking if they were OK with that. He did not attend the second budget meeting and did not respond to the Review with his thoughts on the budget.

The appropriations ordinance must be determined within the first quarter of the fiscal year, which began on May 1, 2020. It must be filed, with estimate of revenues, with the county clerk within 30 days of adoption.

In a memo to the mayor, village administrator and commissioners, Finance Director Letitia Olmsted sent the FY2021 appropriation ordinance, which, she wrote, "establishes the legal spending limits." But the working document for financial activities is the annual line-item budget. General fund and water fund salaries are appropriated with a five percent allowance for overages in overtime and retirements/personnel changes. All other expenditures are categorized with allowances ranging from 10 to 25 percent for unexpected maintenance, repairs and capital expenses.

General fund appropriations for FY2021 are down $113,791 over FY2020, but total authorized village expenditures for FY2021 are $56,814,721, which is $3,791,779 over FY2020's number. The largest variances are for infrastructure projects, including the current sewer project south of Roosevelt Road on Circle Avenue, a TIF funded undertaking, appropriated at $4,294,223 for FY2021 ($1,316,468 over FY2020's number). Additionally, extensive sewer infrastructure projects are included at $11.2 million from the water fund ($1,463,409 over FY2020's number).

In an interview on July 28, Village Administrator Tim Gillian said that just because something is in the budget or appropriation ordinance, it doesn't mean the village will spend it or spend that much on an item or project. The ordinance, however, provides the village with the authority to do so.

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