Flossmoor trustees unanimously approved the village’s 2023-24 budget during the regular meeting April 17.
The total budget includes $28.7 million in revenues and $38.1 million in expenses, but Village Manager Bridget Wachtel explained that the difference will be made up with fund balances, including money that had been set aside for that purpose.
She noted there are several reasons for the expenditure level, including planned capital projects and carryover funds for projects which were not completed in the current fiscal year.
The general fund will contribute $1.5 million to the shortfall in revenue. Wachtel said the operating deficit is mostly attributable to cost increases caused by recent inflation, non-union pay adjustments and step salary adjustments, an increase in the capital equipment fund contribution, contracts for fire department personnel and higher than usual technology costs.
In a previous budget report to the board, Wachtel explained that the FY2024 budget would include technology projects: a full upgrade of network infrastructure, computers, laptops and mobile data terminals. Copiers, printers and an envelope stuffer purchases are also planned.
Water meter replacement is another large project in the budget but one that remains a high priority, she said, because water loss has started increasing again.
Several years ago, the village’s purchase-to-bill ratio, or the difference between the amount of water the village purchases and the amount it can bill customers for, was down to 59%. After replacing water mains and repairing the Vollmer Road Reservoir, the ratio improved to 83%.
Last year however, it had dropped back to 76% billed to residents.In general, Wachtel said the village is fiscally sound. One helpful trend is the increase in sales tax revenues following the opening of the Meijer store and ancillary businesses it has attracted. Sales tax revenue is up 164% since 2018.
The village recently hired a consultant to help recruit more retail business that can help continue the momentum.
Beyond sales tax increases, Wachtel said the village’s approach to fiscal management is key to its good standing.
“Our success has been rooted in sound financial planning combined with an incremental yet responsive approach to fluctuating economic impacts,” she said in a memo to the board. “In economic climates in which many private businesses and public agencies have cut services, we are proud to report that we have been able to sustain current service levels, which has been a main objective of the village board.”
Wachtel thanked the department directors who worked to prepare the budget.
“We take great pride in the work we do, and we look forward to working with the board and the community over this next fiscal year,” she said.
Mayor Michelle Nelson and each trustee also thanked the administrative team for its work on the budget. Trustee Gary Daggett noted his appreciation especially for the measures taken to be proactive on maintenance issues.
“Moving that additional money over to sanitary sewer rehab to run cameras and make sure that we’re catching things before they become bigger than they need to is very good,” he said.
The board also approved a final amendment of $5,021 to the 2022-23 budget to account for the purchase of a laptop computer and other expenses for the police department. Deputy Chief Keith Taylor submitted the request while serving as acting chief. He said the computer was needed by detectives for analyzing cellphone data and large video files.