Garbage fees were increased in the 2005-06 North Riverside budget, and village officials have cut all spending for large purchases, such as new police cars.
Treasurer Sue Scarpiniti said revenues dropped 3 percent since last year. The village receives funding from various sources, including property taxes, service fees and state shared revenue, as well as a capture of half-percent sales tax of each purchase from retail businesses.
Since the board pledged not to raise property taxes years ago, and mall spending has not been as high, the treasurer said budget cuts were imperative.
The village’s Board of Trustees approved the 2005-06 budget at its regular meeting June 20.
“The board imposed a capital spending freeze for the upcoming fiscal year,” Scarpiniti said.
Usually, each department submits a wish list for large purchases. This year, however, departments such as police, fire and building were asked to only request money for salaries and must-have equipment.
The police department, for example, will not receive money to replace aging cars, which are usually rotated and sold as miles get high. Police Chief Anthony Garvey said he can make due with what he has for now.
“Our mechanic expects there will be some maintenance costs, but they should still be safe. The oldest fleet car we have is from 1996. We’ve also been fortunate in the department, we’ve been able to update a lot of equipment using grant funding,” Garvey said.
The village has budgeted total spending for the year at $14.6 million, which includes rising costs of health care, pensions and general utilities.
This figure also includes $500,000 to keep Best Buy from leaving the village. The payment, in the final negotiation stage, convinced the big box electronics chain to stay for at least another 10 years, said Scarpiniti.
She said the village has also slowly boosted fees to earn more revenue. In the last couple years, costs for business licenses have been raised, Scarpiniti said, and as of June 1, residents now pay more money for garbage removal. The average resident will see an average increase of about $20 percent a year, Scarpiniti said.
“The village was subsidizing the garbage pickup by about two-thirds, now we’re paying about half,” Scarpiniti said.
For the long-term revenue plans, she said the village is hoping to get permission from the state legislature to capture more in sales taxes. Trustee James Votava said he’s happy with how costs are being controlled.
“I think our numbers are very impressive, and very reassuring to the village’s future,” he said at the meeting.