West Dundee enters ‘economic diet’ mode on expenses
By Erin Sauder For The Courier-News May 15, 2012 12:08PM
The unexpected closing of the West Dundee Best Buy has village officials scrambling to make up the anticipated $350,000 loss in sales tax revenue. May 15, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 17, 2012 8:14AM
WEST DUNDEE — The unexpected closing of the West Dundee Best Buy has village officials scrambling to make up the anticipated $350,000 loss in sales tax revenue.
Last month, Best Buy announced the locations of 50 stores that it is closing this year. Six of those, including the one in West Dundee on Route 72, are in Illinois.
“The location closing is obviously a substantial sales tax reducer and will have a significant financial impact,” Village Manager Joseph Cavallaro said.
Village officials are looking at a number of potential cutbacks and reductions in order to accommodate the shortfall.
Some proposals include reducing the number of village board meetings from three times a month to twice a month, which would save $13,000 a year; eliminating the police department’s community service officer position, a $14,300 annual savings; reducing part-time employee hours for a $30,000 savings; and reducing the staffed shift at West Dundee Fire Department’s Public Safety Center II from three firefighters to two, a $108,000 savings.
Cavallaro called the last proposal “dramatic,” but said he is hoping to use it as an interim step to promote consolidation with the Rutland-Dundee Township Fire Protection District, which would bring staffing back up in the next 12 months.
Already, the village has switched insurance providers from Blue Cross Blue Shield to United Health Care, for a $50,000 savings.
Rather than reducing part-time employee hours, a suggestion was made to consider other eliminations such as the DARE anti-drug program, village fees and subscriptions, and the community development marketing expense.
Village President Larry Keller likened the proposals to “economic dieting.”
“Putting on pounds is not difficult,” he said. “Adding personnel and programs is not difficult. Dieting, on the other hand, is more difficult. That’s what this is — economic dieting. We don’t like doing this.”
Cavallaro said that since 2005, the village has been cutting back.
“And we are extremely pleased to recognize that even with the budget reductions we’ve been dealing with, we have yet to formally lay off any individuals, but we have reduced from 65 to 56 full-time employees,” he said. “We continue to do more with less and still provide the same high level of service from a residential and business standpoint.”
However, he acknowledged that when it comes to paring down the village’s budget, “much of the low-hanging fruit has already been picked.”
“Reluctantly, we do have a hole that has to be filled this year, and we are proposing it to be met through expenditure reductions,” he said.
Village officials likely will make a final decision on the expected budget shortfall at the next board meeting.