Trustees in La Grange approved the village's 2012-2013 budget on Monday evening nearly unanimously. The lone hold out was Trustee Jim Palermo, who voted no on the budget's approval due to his concern that the village was inaccurately calculating mortality rates for its pension obligations.
With the budget's approval, the village will go into deficit spending until it finds a way to fill a $131,000 hole that was created when trustees voted down a 1 percent utility tax increase at the board's last meeting.
Passage of the budget, despite trustees' concerns about deficit spending, was necessary, Trustee Bill Holder explained, because the village is required by law to have a budget in place by May 1 in order to avoid a shut down of village services. Village President Liz Asperger reminded the public that the village's budget was a living document and could still be amended. She pushed trustees to find time to come together to figure out where the village could make additional service cuts, or increase revenues.
Trustee Michael Horvath—who along with Palermo, and trustees Jeff Nowak and Mark Kuchler voted against the utility tax increase—said he had a number of suggestions for replacing revenues that would have come from the utility tax increase. Horvath suggested removing the planned purchase of two vehicles for use by employees, asking downtown businesses to pay for banners in the village as La Grange Park has done, and possibly adding an entertainment tax on tickets to shows at the La Grange Theatre.
The village is expected to hold workshops in the near future to discuss further possible service cuts and new revenue streams, so they won't have to dip into reserves.