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Flossmoor Village Board approves $33.83 million total budget for fiscal year 2023

The village board voted unanimously Monday, April 18, to approve its FY23 budget, with $33.83 million in total expenditures and $27.36 million in expected revenues, calling upon $6.46 million from the village’s fund balance to bridge the total gap.

The 2021 streets storm sewer improvements has a fund balance use of $4.73 million, with the money coming from a $10 million bond sale from 2020 approved by taxpayers for that purpose. The general fund is using $2.02 million in fund balance, with expenditures of $14.62 million and revenues expected at $12.60 million.

Village Manager Bridget Wachtel noted in a report to the board that much of the general fund gap is planned use of fund balance, with roughly $1.5 million going toward the water meter replacement project. But in the general fund, $556,235 is operating deficit.

That operating deficit can be attributed to a variety of factors, including an inflationary market, an increase in the capital equipment contribution, the addition of a redundant internet service provider and other increased information technology costs, contracted fire personnel, personnel changes, the settlement of the Fraternal Order of Police contract, non-union wage adjustments and step adjustments, carryovers of capital project expenses from FY22 to FY23, and water meter replacements in the amount of $1.50 million, according to Wachtel.

The Capital Equipment Fund is to use $1.07 million of its fund balance, with $2.01 million in expenses compared to $942,214 in revenues. Wachtel noted in her report that each fund has adequate fund balance to bridge those revenue gaps. The overall budget is also helped by surpluses in some other funds.

In her report to the board, Wachtel noted Flossmoor is in good fiscal health and has sustained service levels.

“We are very excited to be entering into fiscal year ’23 and meeting all of our community’s goals,” Wachtel said.

But there is a need to be proactive in the village’s financial planning to address forecasted deficits in the long-term, Wachtel said. The pull-back of state-shared revenues, decreasing and flat revenues dependent upon the economy, the impact of the pandemic, pensions, unfunded mandates, the pressure of increasing operating costs, and infrastructure costs are among the areas of concern, she wrote.

The village board and administrators had public budget talks during meetings on March 7 and 21, as well as April 4. One major change from the preliminary budget to final approval was a reduction of the allocation for the water meter replacement project to offset the addition of the Berry Lane water main replacement. With the Berry Lane drainage improvements project moving forward, there is an opportunity to replace the water main in Berry Lane, the village’s cost of which is allocated to the Water and Sewer Fund, Wachtel explained.

Flossmoor has offset the costs of some work in FY23 with grants, including Phase II engineering and reconstruction costs for the Brookwood Bridge and Butterfield Road Culvert reconstruction project, the Flossmoor Road Viaduct drainage improvements, and the salaries of the Fire Department captains. America Rescue Plan Act funds are covering a “majority” of the costs associated with Flossmoor’s upcoming water supply change. The Village also is to receive a low-interest Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan in FY23 to rehabilitate the sanitary sewers in Flossmoor Hills and Highlands.

A public hearing also was held April 18 before the budget’s approval, but no one from the public commented on it. Trustee Brian Driscoll called it a “solid budget” and praised the staff for their work on it, as did several other trustees. Trustee Rosalind Henderson Mustafa said she also appreciates the ongoing effort that managing finances can be once that budget is in place.

“It’s one thing to create the budget, which is huge, but it’s also an ongoing continual process to monitor expenses so when you get close to the end of the year, you realize your hard work was done in a very thoughtful, prudent way,” Mustafa said. “That can be the harder part: managing expenses.”

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