Here’s an update on some of what transpired at the 7/28 Committee of the Whole meeting. Thanks to all of you who attended the meeting.
BG financials for 2014 are better than 2013. Golf memberships are up 3%. It appears golf P/L will be on budget for the year.
The five-year forecast (through 2019) shows general Village expenses will be covered by revenue. However, when adding in special project expenses, the budget goes into the red in 2016.
85% of BG revenues come from taxes. property taxes and sales taxes are anticipated to grow by 3% with 0% growth expected in other revenues for 2014/2015.
78% of expense is wages and benefits. Village employee growth for 2014/2015 is expected to be 2.5%.
The Village will not be deficit spending for the near future.
The upcoming five-year subsidy for golf operations will be $200,000. In previous plans, the five year subsidy was planned at $325,000.
No capital improvements (other than ash tree removal) are planned for the BG Golf Course. A golf operation building reserve is being created. Possible carpet replacement is being considered (I believe it’s for the BG Golf Course).
An estimate for golf capital improvements will be discussed at the September Committee of the Whole meeting.
Buffalo Grove is planning to install a local administrative adjudication process for certain traffic, non-moving, building and other violations. BG will do the hearing and collect the fines from the guilty instead of the money going to Cook or Lake County. The offender will pay less and BG will get more from the fine. The process is planned to start January, 2015.
Non-Police and Fire wages for BG employees will increase by 2.5% in 2015. A $250,000 pool for step, longevity, merit or combo raises is being budgeted. Police and Fire wages are set by collective bargaining with the applicable unions. Police will bargain again in 2015 and Fire contract has been expired since April, 2013.
An electronic compensation processing system is expected to be operational by mid-2016.
The e-services processing system use is being expanded in phases. Six months to a year away. Things such as licensing, permits filings, payments, utilities requests, work orders, etc. can be done online. Expect this could reduce Police/Fire telephone calls by 700/year.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT was discussed:
BG needs to streamline its processes; work closely with the Chamber of Commerce; plan on redeveloping Milwaukee Ave, Dundee Road, Golf Course, Lake Cook Road; and annex land.
What are the Village targets for development? How to reap benefits expected to be sales/property taxes and jobs. Should the Village consider special offerings to bring business into BG? What does the Board want to see happen? Should BG be a bedroom community or something else? How aggressive should BG be in growing its business climate?
The Board basically said the Village Manager was hired to provide economic development and throwing the subject out for discussion at a big meeting is what has been done in BG for 20-30 years without very good results. Staff was directed to come up with a direction and Trustee Ottenheimer volunteered to work with the Village Manager and staff to come up with a direction for the Board to review and comment upon. BG needs an actionable economic development plan.
P.S. after the meeting I had brief conversations with Trustee Ottenheimer and President Braiman.
I volunteered to provide information to Ottenheimer regarding ideas for economic development and Golf Course alternatives. He welcomed that. Anyone who has suggestions in this area and would like me to forward them to Ottenheimer, please send your ideas/comments to me.
President Braiman reads the Save BG news in the newspapers. He seemed to have as a major concern the increased revenue a downtown project would bring to BG since within 5 years BG residents may be facing a property tax increase if the status quo remains.
The downtown project would provide not only increased revenue but also a destination for residents and others to visit and use. Braiman feels the downtown project will provide benefits to many residents whereas the Golf Course only benefits a few golfers. I mentioned to him that I’m not a golfer but I frequent the golf Course a lot. Braiman said the downtown stores, if built would not be a strip mall or variation of that. (Now that’s some of the same thing I heard from the Trustees when the Town Center was being designed/built.) “Lettuce Entertain You” has been talked to and they said they would like to bring in one or two restaurants (Italian(?), Asian(?), Seafood(?)) into the proposed downtown project. The engineering study of the Golf Course is still expected to be received from Burke Engineering soon. Braiman described it as probably a 50-60 page document that the Village will have to review and decipher.
BG has tried to work with Rohrman regarding the sale of his three vacant auto dealerships on Dundee Road. Rohrman doesn’t even return BG’s phone calls.