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Holiday Hills needs to balance budget, village president says

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 4:42 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 11:41 p.m. CDT

HOLIDAY HILLS – The village of Holiday Hills cannot continue to spend down its reserves, its new village president said.

As revenues shrank over the past five years, the village made ends meet by dipping into its savings.

But the $456,000 the village had in the bank at the beginning of fiscal 2008 has dwindled to about $60,000, said Joseph Landers Jr., an accountant and Holiday Hills resident who was appointed village treasurer in May.

“We would be in financial crisis if we continue spending the way that we have been,” Village President Daniel Drury said. “In a good economy it was fine, but in a bad economy we have to make cuts like everyone else.”

Drury was elected to the position in April.

The draft budget he was left with – which was designed to be a starting point – ran a deficit of $147,000, more than the village has left in its general fund.

Over each of the four fiscal years between May 1, 2008, and April 30, 2012, the village spent more than it brought in, according to the annual financial statements submitted to the ­Illinois Comptroller’s Office. (It also ran a deficit during fiscal 2012-13, Landers said.)

The percentage of expenditures paid for using savings varied from year to year, ­ranging from 19.2 percent of general fund expenditures over fiscal 2010-11 to 41.8 percent over fiscal 2011-12.

The peaks and valleys came with different village projects, including road improvements, a new squad car and adding a fifth officer.

A balanced budget presented to the Holiday Hills Village Board at its meeting Tuesday evening came with “some sacrifices [most of the trustees] aren’t willing to make,” Drury said. It was tabled until next month.

Messages left for Trustee Ken Anderson, who is also a former village president, and Trustee Al Bielsky, who ran against Drury and then-Village President Mickey Brown for the village presidency in April, were not returned Wednesday.

The proposed budget cut all new purchases; canceled memberships; switched phone companies; proposed new policies, including an idling policy that should save the village $1,000 on gas; and cut the police department budget in half.

The Holiday Hills Police Department, which has five part-time officers including the chief, makes up between 34 percent and 44 percent of the budget, depending on the year.

Police Chief Larry Mason hopes additional revenues can be generated through administrative tow fees and adjudicated hearings, two items that are being discussed by the board.

If the cuts go through, that will mean fewer patrols and some things might have to wait for the next officer to come on, Mason said.

Drury “wouldn’t be completely distraught” if the budget, which is for the fiscal year that began May 1, isn’t balanced, but he wants to get there next year.

Spending in Holiday Hills

These figures include just the general fund, out of which most of the villages expenses are paid. The village also has a motor-fuel tax fund where the state puts the village's share of money collected from gas taxes.

Budget Year                      Expenditures                       Revenue                       Difference FY08                                       217,015                             240,285                           23,270 FY09                                       356,688                             218,927                         -137,857 FY10                                       270,345                             188,391                          -81,954 FY11                                       261,755                             211,479                          -50,276 FY12                                       315,804                             183,771                         -132,033

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