Despite the closing of Dominick’s Finer Foods, River Forest still collected more sales tax revenue than anticipated during the fiscal year that ended April 30, according to the village’s comprehensive annual financial report approved recently by the board of trustees.
Overall revenues in the general fund exceeded the projected amount by $506,397, figures show. That money helped cover costs of administration, police and fire and portions of the public works department, among other services.
A breakdown of increased revenue shows:
Sales tax rose 7.84 percent, the result of the openings of Tilly’s and Ulta during the 2014 fiscal year and the starting up of Native Foods Café and La Parrillita restaurants during the 2015 fiscal year, among other things, Joan Rock, the village’s finance director said.
Non-home rule sales tax — the 1 percent levy approved by voters in 2010 — rose by 3.24 percent.
Income from building permits and vehicle licenses rose by 11.66 percent.
Fines and forfeitures from delinquent parking and red light camera violations jumped by 22 percent as a result of the village’s participation in the state’s local debt recovery program. Increased parking ticket fine revenue was directed to the general operating fund; red-light camera fines were earmarked for the capital improvement fund.
Income in the water and sewer fund was lower than anticipated because of a drop in water consumption.
The village spent less than anticipated last year, by $314,354, the audit showed. E911 costs were lower due to the addition of Park Ridge to the West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center. Legal expenses associated with the Roosevelt Middle School exterior project drove that budget higher by nearly $67,000.
Trustee Carmela Corsini, chairman of the village board’s finance committee, attributed the favorable report to the management team of Rock, Village Administrator Eric Palm and Assistant Village Manager Lisa Scheiner, who approach projecting annual revenue and expenditures conservatively.
“They provide revenue reports every month, trim expenditures and get some good reserves to help us with cash flow and whatever foreseeable budget issues may be coming down the road,” Corsini said. “Our cash flow is flexible enough to sustain some short-term cash flow issues that may arise from the state not remitting revenues.”
In 2010, faced with a six-figure budget deficit, River Forest made structural changes to bring spending and revenue more into line. Since then, the village’s numbers have improved.
Village President Catherine Adduci said the village’s management team kept income and expenses in line, and in some cases below budget. But she said officials needed to be mindful of financial numbers year over year.
“I will continue to work with the board and management team to be conservative about spending on any large items from the general funds, especially given the uncertainty of the state’s budget impasse and its effect on our budget,” Adduci said.