Park Forest Village Board To Hash Over 2010 Tax Levy, Finances Saturday

The Board Room in Village Hall.

The Board Room at Village Hall. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Park Forest Village Board has an early and busy day planned for Saturday.

A strategic planning financial update has been set for, Saturday, October 23, in the Board Room of Village Hall. The agenda for the day includes preliminary year-end results for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010, current year trends, tax levy projections, an update on economic development, public works projects, issues from Recreations and Parks, and a review of fiscal year 2010/2011 Board goals.

According to documents prepared for the meeting, which will likely last into the afternoon, Park Forest completed the 2009/2010 fiscal year well within budget projections, but not without cutbacks, including the elimination of a position in the Building Department.

Sales tax revenues continued to decline, a situation exacerbated by the loss of the grocery store. The documents report that sales tax has consistently declined from a high in fiscal year 1996 of $1.2 million to $572,014 received in fiscal year 2010.

"Sales tax revenue has been relatively flat for eight years," Deputy Village Manager/Finance Director Mary Dankowski reports in a memo to the Board.

Looking forward, a first reading of the 2010 tax levy is scheduled for November 22. The 2011/2012 budget will be funded by the levy set in December, 2010. According to Director Dankowski, the property tax levy for general corporate purposes funds the general operations of the Village of Park Forest — Police, Fire, Administration, Public Works, Recreation and Parks, Health, Community Development and Economic Development — which are not funded by other sources. The 2009 levy supported 50% of the total operating budget, up from 46% the previous year.

Salaries are the largest expense for the Village of Park Forest. According to Dankowski, in the General Fund, salaries represent $9,783,816 or 51% of the total $19,276,260 operating budget. Police and Fire salaries represent 64% of total salaries.

The Village is required to pay an incredible amount of money to fund Police and Fire pensions: $970,566 for Police in 2009 and $698,452 for Fire. In 2010, the Police levy will be $1,004,951 and $732,073 for Fire.

Funding for bonds and interest will actually decrease in 2010, Dankowski reports, from $869,931 to $731,748. The General Corporate levy will need to increase from &7,790,064 in 2009 to $8,250,064 in 2010. The levy for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) will not need to change at $485,565. Likewise, the levy for FICA will remain unchanged at $424,190.

When the numbers are tallied, the levy for the Village of Park Forest will need to grow from $11,237,031 in 2009 to $11,628,682 in 2010. This represents a 3.5% increase.

The Board will also consider two initiatives that could add to the 3.5% increase: hiring an additional firefighter to help balance shifts, and environmental initiatives that could be tied to grant applications currently pending to create a "Sustainability Master Plan," according to the memo from Director Dankowski.

Adding a firefighter would represent an additional $104,646 to the levy, resulting in a 4.42% increase. Adding the environmental initiatives would add $100,000 to the levy, resulting in a 5.3% tax levy increase. Adding only the environmental initiatives would result in a tax levy increase of 4.38%.

A Public Hearing on the proposed tax levy for 2010 will be held on the first Monday in December.