The project is scheduled to be completed in June 2010.
Last week- Homer Tree service removed trees and lots of buckthorn. Earthwerks installed the first streambank stabilization measure (adjacent to Butterfield Road). Westernmost overbank wetland was graded and geofabric was installed.
This week- Earthwerks will concentrate on streambank reshaping and excavate the second wetland.
The weather should be nice all week 60-70s and no forecasted rain until Saturday. Contractor anticipates making a lot of progress.
For questions or comments contact Tom Brettmann at 847-918-3590 or TomB@vhills.org LETTERS SENT TO SENATOR LINK AND REPRESENTATIVE SENTE ON MARCH 17, 2010
March 17, 2010
Re: Illinois State Budget - Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF)
Dear Senator Link and Representative Sente,
I noted with great dismay the Governor’s proposed State budget. As you are aware, the proposal for 2011 included a reduction in the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) from the current 10% of income tax to 7%. What this would mean for Vernon Hills is a loss of $539,454 as estimated by the Illinois Municipal League. Municipalities, along with the State, have already lost 18% of the income tax this year compared to 2008 as a result of the current economic conditions. This change will result in a 43% cumulative reduction from FY2008 levels.
As I have communicated to you previously, the Village has worked on significant reductions in our current budget from $20,800,000 to $17,600,000, which is approximately a 15.4% reduction in our budget over a one year period. As with many governmental units, we are looking at many of these cuts as a systemic or long term decrease in funding sources for our operations, as well as capital budget. The additional decrease of over a half million dollars from the Local Government Distributive Fund would represent an additional 3% decrease in our budget. What this represents in real terms would be the equivalent of five police officers in Vernon Hills.
While once again, we understand the State’s predicament with the demands for resources and the erosion of various revenue streams, local governments should not be the source of a solution for the State.
We have had to make many sacrifices to achieve this over 15% reduction in our budget in one year. The reduction in State shared income tax adds another problem for funding basic local government services, including Police, Public Works, and development review, which are core services that local governments provide. We urge you to maintain the 10% Local Government Distributive Fund income tax sharing and look forward to your reply.
Sincerely yours,Roger L. Byrne
Trash and Recycling Service – Meeting – Thursday, April 8 – 7PM
March 22, 2010
Dear HOA Officers or Property Managers,
As I have corresponded previously, the Village Board took action in December to transfer the direct cost of recycling to residents. This was necessitated by the budget challenges being experienced by Vernon Hills and in many communities. We realized as part of this process, the Village franchise with Veolia for trash, recycling, and yard waste is due for expiration on November 30, 2010. It was the Village’s goal to obtain a better price for trash and recycling service for all residents in single family attached and detached homes. At this time, detached single family homes are covered under the franchise for both trash and recycling and attached single family homes for recycling only.
To this end, we have been negotiating with Veolia to renew our agreement and lower costs that can be achieved through the inclusion of all 7,500 plus housing units in the Village, 3,435 of which are townhouses and condominiums for trash and recycling. Below are the proposed numbers from Veolia for townhouses with toter service for trash and recycling. For some of you, this would mean for the first time the provision of a toter for trash.
65 Gallon Trash
35 Gallon Recycle
35 Gallon Trash
35 Gallon Recycle
Weekly Trash & Recycle
Weekly Trash & Every Other week Recycle
From our survey of several Associations, the numbers above for combined trash and recycling are better than what some Associations currently are paying for trash alone. The basis of this Veolia proposal is that at some point this year, all Associations would become part of the Veolia franchise. However as part of the decision, the Village Board wants to have input from our Associations to determine your thoughts on being part of this franchise before any final decision is made.
Several questions we have for you prior to the Village Board making any decision would be the following:
Do you have a contract with a waste hauler? If you do what is the duration?
What is the amount you currently pay for trash service?
If the Village Board implements a franchise with Veolia for single family homes to include attached single family would you prefer to be invoiced for the entire Association or sent to each resident?
To secure your input, we are proposing a meeting of all Associations in the Village to provide an opportunity for the Village and Veolia representatives to answer questions about the contemplated changes. You are invited to a meeting planned for Thursday, April 8 at 7:00PM at the Village Hall.
We also encourage your questions and comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 847-918-3540.
Hazeltime/Seavey Restoration Project – Gregg’s Landing
March 22, 2010
Tree clearing started on Thursday, March 18th for the Seavey Drainage Ditch Restoration Project @ Hazeltime Drive. Cottonwood trees and the invasive buckthorn is being removed by Homer Tree Services. Stream bank stabilization work may begin later this week weather depending. Substantial completion and restoration will be completed by mid May.
<!--[if !vml]-->Due to the proximity of trees to the top of the streambank, many trees will be impacted during the regrading of the banks. Many of the existing trees are mainly softwoods and in poor condition. The Engineering Division staff will take measures to save quality trees to the extent possible. The design was modified to save an approximate 30 foot buffer along Butterfield Road to reduce unappealing views. Also a number of larger quality trees were identified along the southwesterly project area and will be protected and enhanced using best forestry management practices.<!--[endif]-->
Questions? Contact Engineering Tech Tom Brettmann 847-918-3591 or TomB@vhills.org
Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities
March 16, 2010
The Village Board recently joined the Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities. The mission of this group is to address the escalating costs of public pensions. Below you will find the coalitions platform and a link if you desire more information or wish to join. It is essential that we get costs under control in providing public pensions.
Pension Fairness Platform
Our legislative platform proposes five steps that would relieve taxpayer burden and enable communities to provide their public safety employees with secure and reliable retirements:
Enrollment of all new public safety personnel in a modified pension system. This would bring public employee benefits more in line with the private sector.
Realignment of public safety employee pension contributions so that they are parallel with the level of benefits received. In a stable and modern pension system, employees and employers would contribute equally toward pension costs.
Consolidation of the public safety pension system into one statewide fund to minimize operational costs and provide opportunities for improved investment returns. The legislation calls for this item to be completely studied to ensure any potential issues are resolved prior to implementation.
Adoption of a 30 year rolling amortization period for the full funding of pensions. This is a more stable funding methodology than the arbitrary fixed 2033 deadline currently in place.
Require a supermajority in order to approve benefit enhancements in the General Assembly to curtail ongoing pension enhancements.
THE FOLLOWING LETTER WENT OUT TO ALL VILLAGE EMPLOYEES ON MARCH 4, 2010
To: All Employees
From: Mike Allison, Village Manager
RE: 2009/2010 Budget Update – March 2010
As I indicated in January, nine of the 20 eligible employees opted to participate in the Accelerated Retirement Incentive. With the current proposal to replace only one of the nine positions and possibly the addition of one position in the Police Department, we have reduced the expense side of the budget.
The following are some of the changes that are being made as a result of the Accelerated
Retirement Incentive and other changes in the organization.
With the retirement of Mark Chandler, we will promote one Sergeant to Commander.
With the retirements of Ed Laudenslager and Tom Olkowski, Dave Brown has been appointed Director of Public Works/Village Engineer. Steve Maslov and Tom Brettmann are also moving to the Public Works Department.
Also in Public Works, we are currently recruiting internally to fill Marci Moffatt’s Administrative Assistant position in Public Works.
In the Police Department, we will fill the Records Position with a CSO at this time.
In the Village Clerk’s Office, I will take the responsibility of the Village Clerk with John Kalmar as Deputy Village Clerk.
Custodial work in the Village Hall that is currently being performed by Gus Stagg will be contracted out.
In a recent change, the Police Department will be reviewing alternative options for providing Police Social Services.
There is an ongoing review of Police Communications.
The aforementioned, along with the reductions that I outlined in a memo from November 19 of over $1M, provides the probability, along with stabilizing revenues, to achieve a balanced budget in 2010/2011. This is possible with the following changes from this year 2009/2010 continuing into 2010/2011 (May 1, 2010 through April 30, 2011):
The current employee contribution of 20% to health insurance
The elimination of subsidy of recycling to residents.
The deferral of all capital equipment purchases and funding of depreciation in the capital equipment reserve fund. This includes such items as Public Works trucks and squad cars.
Reduction in capital expenditures.
Continuation of the reduction of personnel by attrition in limited instances.
While this works for one more year, some of these reductions, such as capital equipment, are obviously not sustainable over time. One good example is the purchase of squad cars. Although at this time, we do not contemplate buying any squad cars through April 30, 2011, the wear and tear and the cost of maintenance will escalate to a point where it will be necessary to purchase additional squad cars. It is the same situation for Public Works trucks. Therefore, we will need to look at a long term projection, along with continuing reduction in expenses, so that we can provide enough flexibility in the budget to fund equipment purchases, as well as continue to fund capital projects. In addition to a continuing reduction of expenses, there is also a need for our tax base to stabilize. It is initially reported that the sales tax for the holiday was mixed with several businesses up from 2008 and a number definitely down from 2008. We will not have the full picture until March and April of this year when the State reports the sales tax for December and January respectively.
As I mentioned to you previously, now is not the time to raise fees or taxes. With the elimination of the subsidy for recycling, which most of you pay for in the communities where you live, I have received a number of phones calls from residents opposed to the mandatory program and the resulting cost shift. Also I heard from several of our residents who have lost their jobs and are looking to reduce their expenses.
To build our tax base, we continue to work with various developers and retailers to locate stores in the Village. The most recent agreement that the Village Board signed, which I mentioned to you at several meetings, pertains to Dick’s Sporting Goods moving into Hawthorn Fashion Square. Also, we continue to talk to Westfield Hawthorn. One of the actions the Village Board took in January was to place a moratorium on non-retail sales tax generating uses in certain parts of the Village. Although there will be modifications going forward, this is to protect the core retail in our community that funds Village services.
I encourage you to suggest ideas for cost savings in your department and to share them with your supervisor. With your assistance, we will continue to work toward balancing our budget and to provide quality services for our residents.
If you have an questions/comments, please contact Mike Allison, Village Manager at MikeA@vhills.org
Budget Transmittal Memo
March 9, 2010
We think it is safe to say that the 2010-2011 budget has had the most pre-discussion of any budget in the history of the Village. We spent two sessions on October 31, 2009 and February 20, 2010 specifically discussing the budget, as well as future finances, along with numerous discussions during the Village Board meetings this past fiscal year. This work laid the foundation for the document that is attached. What is itemized below is the summary of changes made.
Included in the attached are numerous reductions that were started in the 2009-2010 budget year and continue into the 2010-2011 budget. As we have noted previously, this is a part of a short term means to address the budget deficit for 2010-2011. The Accelerated Retirement Incentive represents a system change in how we operate, permanently lowering the cost basis in future fiscal years.
There have been numerous changes made in staff, as noted below, through the Accelerated Retirement Incentive and by attrition. These changes will need to be absorbed during the 2010-2011 budget year and we will continue to address challenges that arise as we change position responsibilities and work with a slimmer staff. One area that is under review currently is Police Communications. We are performing several alternative scenarios to address reducing costs in Telecommunications. We hope to have these recommendations to you in the next several months.
In the 2010-2011 budget year, we have some significant concerns going forward.
The first is the State income tax and the discussions in Springfield with huge budget shortfalls. It has been speculated that the State sharing of income tax at 1/10% may be changed to a lower formula so that disbursement per capita to municipalities would be reduced. We will continue to monitor this situation.
Streamlined Sales Tax – Although there is no significant action under consideration, this is always a concern and has been a concern for the past several years. With Steve Morrill in Springfield, we will continue to also monitor this situation.
We can not determine at this time what the impact of Costco opening in Mettawa will be in 2010. From newspaper reports, Costco is scheduled to open in late 2010 and this may have some impact to store sales, particularly Sam’s Club.
We are working on revising the agreement with CDW and, as you are aware, we continue to work toward some restructuring of the formula to maintain and increase their sales tax payment to the Village.
The FY2010-11 proposed budget has a $324 thousand projected surplus of revenues over expenditures. However, it should be noted that included in that $324 thousand surplus is a $271 thousand contingency, so to the extent we need to use contingency next year, we cut into the surplus. Budgeted expenditures in the General Fund are $3.20 million below the amount budgeted in the FY2009-10 original budget. This includes a $2.41 million reduction in the operating budget and an $804 thousand reduction in the amount of capital funded by the General Fund. The overall budget in the General fund budget for all expenditures categories is down 15.4% to $17.56 million.
Revenues in the General fund are projected to be $3.13 million below the projection used to develop the FY2009-10 budget. $1 million of that drop is due to the fact that in FY2009-10 we will have a one time influx projected from the sale of the Deerpath Atrium property. Additionally, projected receipts in a number of ongoing revenue sources are projected to be down: Sales tax is projected to be $8.88 million for FY2010-11 down by $736 from the $9.62 million projected when developing the FY2009-10 budget. This $8.88 million projection represents no growth over what is currently estimated to be the actual result for FY2009-10. Other decreases in projected revenue from the original FY2009-10 projection include a $360 thousand reduction the income tax receipts projection, a $295 thousand drop in the Community Development and engineering fee projection, a $140 thousand drop in hotel motel tax projection, a $129 thousand drop in the electric utility tax projection, a $126 thousand drop in the telecommunications tax projection and an $84 thousand drop in the projection for fines.
The Village has taken a number of steps in order to align itself with this reduced revenue picture. Last autumn an Administrative Assistant in the Community Development was moved over to Telecommunications in order to fill a vacancy in that division. That saved $31.1 thousand in FY2009-10, and $62.2 thousand in FY2010-11. Also in the autumn, $1.03 million of cuts were identified by staff, including $843 thousand of operating reductions, which were carried forward into this year’s budget. These cuts included substantial reductions in training and equipment replacement. At the October 31st Committee of the Whole meeting, budget cuts annualized at $515 thousand were identified including $348 thousand from the elimination of the recycling subsidy, as well as reductions in communications, event funding, social service grant funding and funding the grants attorney. An ARI (Accelerated Retirement Incentive) and other personnel actions offered in late November ultimately resulted in savings of $914 thousand a year, with the amount of annual savings expected to go up as salary and benefit costs increase. In FY2010-11, that ARI’s savings is partially offset by $97 thousand of ARI generated retiree health insurance costs (on a cash basis, including accruals to FY2009-10, the cost is $467 thousand). Finally, in the operating budget, $250 thousand was cut by a one time elimination of the annual contribution to the Equipment Replacement Fund, which coincides with extending the life of Village vehicles. Capital was also scaled back, such that the amount of the Capital program that had to be funded by the General Fund was reduced by $804 thousand.
Among the two other funds with budgeted expenditures this year, the Motor Fuel Tax Fund and the Tax Increment Fund, both are running deficits: The Motor Fuel Tax Fund is projected to run a $226 thousand deficit. The Tax Increment Fund is projected to run a $316 thousand deficit of which $273 thousand was from the Capitalized Interest Fund, which was designated to be drawn down to pay interest on the 2007 TIF Revenue Bond. This deficit amount does not include the $550,000 of future revenue to be used to pay accrued interest on the TIF notes. With the General Fund surplus of $324 thousand, the overall deficit is $218 thousand, but when adjusted for the fact that $273 thousand is from the Capitalized Interest Fund, the net result is that the ongoing funds are projected to have a $55 thousand surplus. The overall budget for all funds is $19.45 million.
As we review the budget for 2010-2011, an important discussion that we have had is financials moving forward. In addition to the items mentioned above concerning State legislative changes, there are also the increases in cost that will be experienced from the settlement of the Police contract at some point in the future, as well as personnel cost increases for the balance of the Village employees. As these numbers become more apparent, we will build them into a model for your review.
Although we have looked at the 2010-2011 budget year cautiously, there appears to be bright spots as far as activity and we hope this will become more of a trend as 2010 progresses. We, along with the balance of the staff, look forward to discussing the 2010-2011 budget with you.
If you have an questions/comments, please contact Mike Allison, Village Manager at MikeA@vhills.org
New Businesses in Vernon Hills
March 5, 2010
175 Hawthorn Pkwy #155
Westfield Hawthorn Center
2 Phillip Drive
Residential Refuse, Recycling, and Yard Waste
March 1, 2010
The Village Staff has been working with our current solid waste vendor Veolia to explore options for renewing our contract for residential refuse, recycling and yard waste. After several discussions we are ready to bring this to the Village Board on March 2 for discussion of possible renewal.
In refuse and recycling there are reductions in cost for users in both single family attached and detached homes. Dependent on the results of the discussion with the Village Board these changes could be instituted on May 1, 2010.
We will post further information after the March 2 discussion. As always you are welcome to attend the meeting.
If you have an question or comments please contact Mike Allison email@example.com
VILLAGE BLOG - February 2010
- Operation Welcome Home
- Metra Parking Increase
- Road Projects
- New Business
- Telecommunications Tower
- Loyola University Cuneo Campus
VILLAGE BLOG - January 2010
- Accelerated Retirement Incentive
- Parkway Tree Trimming
VILLAGE BLOG - December 2009
- Chili's Restaurant
- River's Edge Path
- Seavey Ditch Restoration
- Dick's Sporting Goods