The Finance Committee of the River Forest village board, Monday night, held the first of three meetings to wrestle with a 2008-09 budget deficit previously projected to be as high as $500,000.

Trustees Steve Hoke, Patrick O’Brien and Susan Conti heard a presentation by Village Administrator Steve Gutierrez and other administrators covering proposed revenue sources and expenses for the 2008-09 fiscal year, beginning May 1.

The proposed budget, which will be presented to the full village board March 10, shows $11,766,549 in pared-down expenditures against revenues bolstered by a one-time infusion of $250,000 from the sale of village property and the transfer of $277,853 from the Capital Equipment Replacement Fund. In addition, the village is moving $119,000 from the Motor Fuel Tax fund to cover unanticipated, exceptionally high snow-removal and road-salting expenses

The budget also calls for reintroducing a 9-cent per hundred cubic feet of water fee previously cut from the village’s water rates. That additional $66,000, if approved, will go toward street and sewer improvements. Those improvements, scheduled from 2008 to 2010, will cost a total of $1,671,000. Of that figure, $950,000 would come from issuing bonds.

The finance committee will meet again tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss an analysis by the Kane McKenna bond firm of both the ways and means and advisability of a possible retirement of one or more bond issues related to the village’s property tax TIF district, and will discuss proposed contributions to the village’s police and fire pension funds.

Bill Dwyer

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