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Local News

Facing unknowns from state, Shorewood budgets conservatively

SHOREWOOD – The $29 million 2015-2016 budget approved Tuesday by the Shorewood Village Board is budgeted conservatively, officials say, but dependent on several unknowns.

Finance Director Anne Burkholder said several external factors guided the budget process this year. Gov. Bruce Rauner presented a plan last month to take half of municipalities' shares of the Local Government Distributive Funds.

Shorewood budgeted as if there will be no change in the distribution.

"The administration and board's standpoint right now is that until we know what the state is going to do, we didn't incorporate that information in the budget," Burkholder said, adding that the budget could be amended in the future.

Burkholder also said the budget could change with the passage of a referendum on the April 7 ballot that will ask residents if Shorewood should be home rule.

The balanced general fund budget has increased from this year's budget by 1.05 percent, to $11.42 million.

Expenditures from other main funds in the budget include $9.08 million in capital improvements, $4.03 million in the water and sewer fund, and $2.19 million in capital projects.

Revenues from those funds are $8.40 million in capital improvements, $4.85 million in water and sewer and $2.19 million in capital projects.

Expense changes

Major funds in the 2015-2016 general fund budget have not changed much from this year, Burkholder said. But some smaller changes reflect several decisions the board made last year.

The Shorewood Emergency Management Agency budget dipped 52.68 percent, to $28,077 in planned expenses, due to the purchase of two tornado sirens last year.

The economic development budget went up 75.09 percent to $104,088 because of the hiring of The Retail Coach.

The special events budget was merged with the parks administration budget and parks programs increased 54 percent to $201,029.

For capital projects, funds allocated for the soon-to-be-completed Mound Road water tower project will drop from $5.75 million to $5.25 million next fiscal year.

The Route 59 street lighting project is complete and will come off the books, along with the $700,000 Edgewater subdivision street improvements.

Revenue changes

While tax revenue will only increase 0.83 percent to $8.70 million in next year's budget, the permits and fees budget has increased 39.81 percent, to $377,500.

"Building and commercial permits are hard to forecast," Burkholder said.

The village budgeted for $270,000 in fees this year, but are projected to receive $474,915, primarily due to the success residential developers have had in the Edgewater and Towne Center neighborhoods, according to the budget report.

At the State of the Village address on Tuesday, Mayor Rick Chapman said one way to offset any losses in tax revenue due to state decisions is economic development.

"The Village of Shorewood does not live on property tax," he said to business leaders. "We live on sales tax, we live on you."

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