North Riverside’s village board is expected to approve its 2013-14 operating budget at a special meeting called for July 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the North Riverside Village Commons, 2401 Desplaines Ave.
A public hearing for the proposed budget will be held at 7 p.m., prior to adoption. A portion of that hearing will be open for comments from the public.
The village board’s finance committee met July 1 and 2 to hammer out the budget, which contemplates using reserves to cover a $131,513 shortfall in its general operating fund, which pays for day-to-day expenses such as salaries and benefits for village employees.
That deficit might have been higher had the village board chosen to fund its police and fire pension obligations at their full levels. Instead, trustees chose to make contributions to those pension funds at about a 40 percent level — $338,000 for police pensions and $222,700 for fire pensions.
Village Administrator Guy Belmonte said that the pension contribution amount could change depending on the village’s financial position at the end of the fiscal year, which ends April 30, 2014.
“We’ll look at it in March and possibly reconsider,” said Belmonte.
In March 2014, the village ought to have an idea of just how much sales tax revenue is being generated by Costco, which is slated to open in the fall of 2013. Illinois reimburses municipalities for sales taxes three months in arrears.
During the 2013-14 fiscal year, village officials expect sales taxes, which fuel North Riverside’s operating revenues, to rebound after a sluggish 2012-13. Last fiscal year the village took in just $9.58 million in sales taxes, a 4-percent decline from the previous year.
That drop reflects the loss of Edward Don Company, which moved out of the village at the end of 2012. With the arrival of Costco, officials expect sales taxes to surpass those of Edward Don, estimating the village will take in $10 million in overall sales taxes in 2013-14.
In the following two years, officials are estimating that number will climb even higher, to $11.7 million in 2015-16. Sales taxes derived from Costco are scheduled in part to pay back $6.3 million in debt certificates the village used to seal the Costco deal. That debt will be paid off over the next 20 years.
How much of that additional revenue will be put toward police and fire pensions in the future is unclear although the document approved by the finance committee on July 2 indicates that the village intends on contributing 100 percent of its obligation to those funds in 2014-15 and 2015-16 — roughly $1.6 million annually.
But doing so would also take a healthy bite out of the village general operating reserve without either new revenues or budget cuts. As it stands now, the village is projecting to deplete its general operating fund balance of $3.6 million by more than $2.5 million by May 1, 2016.
As for highlights, the budget calls for the purchase of a new fire engine, funded mostly by a $332,500 federal grant. The village is expected to contribute about $160,000 toward the purchase, according to Belmonte.
Fire Chief Brian Basek said the new pumper will replace two vehicles in the fleet, which are 27 and 34 years old respectively. The younger of the two vehicles has already been taken out of service, because of a leaky water tank.
The new vehicle will be a pumper that will also have equipment mounted on it so it can be used to help firefighters extricate people from vehicles involved in crashes. Once the budget is approved, it will take six to nine months to take delivery of the fire engine, Basek said.
The Public Works Department is slated to receive a new wood chipper and a new pickup truck fitted with a snow plow.
Non-union village employees are also in line for 3-percent raises.
With respect to increases in fees, residents can expect to pay a bit more for vehicle stickers next year. Next April, the fee is going up from $30 to $35 per sticker.
Residents can also expect water rates to climb as the village passes along rate increases from the city of Chicago to the Brookfield-North Riverside Water Commission.
One area where North Riverside saw a spike in revenues in 2012-13 was charges for water. The increase was expected with the installation of new digital-read water meters throughout the village.
Water revenues jumped from $1.48 million in 2011-12 to $1.8 million in 2012-13, an increase of more than 21 percent. By 2015-16, North Riverside water revenues are predicted to come in at $2.25 million, which would represent a 51.6 percent increase from 2011-12.