Store closings open up budget holes for West Dundee
By Linda McDaniel-Hale Point Taken June 8, 2012 1:42PM
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Updated: July 11, 2012 10:17AM
Unfortunately, West Dundee is feeling the budget crunch with the recent unexpected closure of the Best Buy on Route 72. With the closure of JCPenney at Spring Hill Mall also taking place recently, West Dundee has lost a big hunk of tax revenue.
Poor West Dundee is at least $200,000 short of paying its bills and needing to find places to make cuts. One of the toughest areas on the chopping block is the possibility that part-time firefighters at Station 2 might need to be cut. Village residents will not be happy to learn that fire department response times could possibly increase from three to five minutes.
Certainly, village residents with a house fire will not be pleased to have to wait an additional two minutes for firefighters to respond. Businesses still in West Dundee could not be happy, either, to learn that they also could be waiting additional time for a firetruck to arrive.
Full-time employees on the payroll in West Dundee could see their Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare coverage replaced by United Healthcare to save costs. As long as they receive the same benefits, this might not be as bad as it seems.
Some part-time and seasonal employees might have their hours reduced. A community service officer might be laid off. Village board meetings could be reduced from three to two per month.
All of these proposed cuts and changes could end up saving West Dundee $216,000.
So with all the problems in the economy, West Dundee has some tough choices to make. Did the village board not see the writing on the wall? Were they truly blown away when they found out that Best Buy was closing its doors? Whatever the case might be, West Dundee is still faced with the harsh reality requiring it to get out the old abacus and come up with a budget plan to save the day.
Perhaps the village board can find a way to entice new businesses to move into the empty buildings left by JCPenney and Best Buy. Tax incentives are always a way to attract new business, but West Dundee might find itself in the same position without enough money to go around. The tax incentives might not be worth it if enough revenue is not generated for the village.
At this time, West Dundee has no choice but to make the cuts wherever they might be necessary. It is a shame that it didn’t plan better for the possibility of other businesses closing in their village limits.
I certainly hope they don’t go to the residents next year and ask for a real estate tax increase. That definitely won’t cut it.
Linda McDaniel-Hale is a Sleepy Hollow resident.