The budget has been at the forefront of discussions at the Village of Channahon. From the , which will remain at 5 percent through 2012, to the formation of the Citizens Review Commitee, a group of five residents who are going through the budget and offering grass-roots suggestions, village officials are considering multiple solutions to balance the FY 2012-2013 budget.
"For the 2012-13 budget cycle, our staffing levels are what they were in 2003," Channahon Village Manager Joe Pena said.
In 2003, the village had 9,757 residents. In 2012, there are 12,560.
"There's still 3,000 more residents that are in the community that need servicing," Pena said.
At the budget meeting Monday evening, pointed out that the lowest number the staff has ever been at in the village was in 2006.
noted that prior to 2003, staffing levels would be a bit misleading as well.
"Right before 2003, we weren't in this building yet," Cook said. "We couldn't hire anybody else because we had nowhere to put them."
The meetings on Monday afternoon and evening and Tuesday afternoon were the beginning of budget talks for the village. The Citizen Review Committee offered a suggestion after its Monday afternoon meeting that the village staff look into possibly leasing the more expensive items instead of purchasing them. Among those items were technology purchases and replacement police cars.
The proposed budget numbers are $35 million in revenue and $34 million in expenses. There is a $1.2 million surplus.
Before sitting down at the budget meetings this week, department heads in the village considered their own department-specific cuts. For example, the Channahon Police Department decided to waive its membership in North East Multi Regional Training. The organization - known as NEMRT - provides training to officers at a flat-rate of $35 per officer. With 24 members of the police department, the choice saved the village $840 a year. Training is still provided by the department's membership in TriRiver at a cost of $1,200 per year.
The idea of a zero-based budget does not only mean that each of the funds must balance to zero after expense are considered. Rather, it is a reference to how the budgeting choices are made.
"Each line item has to have a justification for what that line item is," Pena said. "It's significantly more detailed than it has been in the past."