Oak Park closes projected $1.7M deficit for 2011

Vacant positions, tax and fee increases help make village hall whole

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

The Oak Park village board was presented with a balanced budget for next year on Monday night, which eradicated a $1.7 million deficit in 2011. But trustees will need to figure out in the coming weeks whether they’re on board with the cuts and tax increases used to fill the hole.

Village staff was able to make the numbers line up by keeping a handful of positions vacant in 2011 to save about $1 million, said Chief Financial Officer Craig Lesner. Oak Park bridged the rest of the gap through a number of maneuvers, including upping its revenue projections and cutting back on landscaping planters around town.

The village is not eyeing any layoffs next year, after already having trimmed about 70 positions over the past three years. However, Oak Park is currently proposing to raise some parking fees, the water rate and its share of property tax bills.

Overall expenses for the village are projected to go up by 2.4 percent, year to year, from $122.4 million to $125.3 million in 2011.

Trustees will discuss the proposed budget in the coming weeks, and are tentatively scheduled to adopt it on Nov. 15. You can view the financial plan and comment on it by going to http://www.oak-park.us/Finance/Finance.html.

For more on this story, see the Oct. 13 print edition of Wednesday Journal, or check back at OakPark.com.

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Solution from Oak Park  

Posted: October 15th, 2010 8:40 AM

The solution is to run government efficiently to start with - 70 positions laid off - I want to see the number of years those employees were on the job and their salaries over those years and realize the cost of inefficient governments.

Sujay Sharma  

Posted: October 14th, 2010 6:11 AM

The solution needs to be that we will get more business friendly (like Forest Park) and attract some businesses to Oak Park to fill all the empty real estate. Instead we continue to look for other ways to nickel and dime villagers to make up for budget shortfalls while other villages around us take away exciting and new businesses.

Robert Murtha from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2010 4:58 PM

Mr Kemp, I am happy to review the budget. Can you please direct me to where I can find the pertinent information? The insinuation from Mr Stempniak's article is that the water rate is proposed to be increased as part of a scheme to close the budget deficit. It does not elaborate on the details of the increase.

Jeff Kemp from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2010 1:57 PM

Um, Mr. Murtha, read the budget. These are pretty straightforward fees. Not a new water tax.

Robert Murtha from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2010 1:15 PM

So, now they want to tax our water!?!? Last I checked water is a basic necessity to life. I'm happy to pay for clean water, but for a tax to be levied on it so they can fill a budget gap... I don't think so!

Marty Stempniak  

Posted: October 13th, 2010 11:58 AM

It's up there now.

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: October 12th, 2010 4:59 PM

FYI - Village Web Site has sign saying that the 2011 Financial Plan will be "Coming Soon."That is; it is not yet available on site

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