West Dundee cancels National Night Out festivities due to costs
By Erin Sauder For The Courier-News July 23, 2012 10:28PM
Updated: November 30, 2012 10:24AM
WEST DUNDEE — The village’s annual celebration in honor of National Night Out has become the latest victim of the economy.
Village officials said that due to the rising costs of hosting the two-hour event, they are canceling festivities this year.
The 29th annual National Night Out Against Crime, slated for Tuesday Aug. 7, is a crime and drug prevention event that promotes police community partnerships.
Communities in this area that have registered with the National Night Out organizations to hold celebrations this year include Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Hampshire, Huntley, Pingree Grove, Sleepy Hollow and St. Charles.
The West Dundee Police Department began hosting a celebration in honor of the initiative in 2006, and it grew to include more entertainment each year, including a petting zoo and deejay. Last year East and West Dundee joined together for a celebration.
“It got pretty extravagant and with the current economic times and budgetary cuts it was hard to continue with that,” said Sgt. Steve Fletter. “Money is needed everywhere. Unfortunately when cuts had to be made, that’s one that had to be made.”
West Dundee usually spends about $8,000 to put on the event.
“There’s a lot of manpower planning it involved and expenses with the tents and equipment — it gets kind of costly,” Fletter said. “With the economy it’s a trickle effect. When area businesses don’t have that kind of discretionary income to help, this is one of the things we have to do.”
That’s not the only loss the economy is forcing on the police department.
In another effort at cost savings, the West Dundee Village Board made a series of planned spending cuts to make up the anticipated $350,000 loss in sales tax revenue from the unexpected Best Buy store closing. One of those measures was eliminating the police department’s community service officer position, a $14,300 annual savings.
“Everybody’s tightening their budgets and West Dundee is not immune to that,” Fletter said.
In the spirit of the National Night Out initiative, the West Dundee Police Department encourages residents to leave on their porch lights during the evening of Aug. 7, to take a stand against crime.
For National Night Out information, visit www.nationalnightout.org.