While the state's biennial budget is still being debated and has yet to come to a vote, officials in Sturtevant are being proactive about their village's budget for next year and its impact on residents.
Projected cuts in state shared revenue could mean an almost $240,000 hole in Sturtevant's budget for both 2012 and 2013, and that amount does not account for the increased costs of running a village like electricity, heat or supplies.
"I know it's early," said Village Administrator Mark Janiuk to the board during a bi-weekly committee meeting earlier this month. "But I want you to start considering some options so you aren't scrambling when the state budget is passed."
Janiuk handed out a list of cuts and revenue stream ideas for trustees to consider. Some of the cuts include: eliminating the part-time police officer; not filling a Department of Public Works position that became vacant with a retirement; and there is already a savings of $15,000 for being part of joint dispatch.
More significantly, Janiuk listed cuts that might make a bigger impact:
- Eliminating a full-time police officer;
- Further reducing the administrator to half time - Janiuk is currently at about 32 hours a week; and
- Cutting parks by a third.
Employee concessions with contributions toward retirement and healthcare would also add to savings.
"We definitely need to look at everything," said Trustee Chris Larsen. "But, the only thing I will not consider is merging our police department with any other department. I will not risk the safety of our village."
Trustee John Johnson said the parks proposal is worth looking into further.
"It makes some sense to have the baseball program taking care of the ball fields so the village just cuts the grass," he said.
Daryl Lynaugh, chair of the Finance Committee, said he is not happy about the cuts listed, but things are going to get tighter.
"We have to look at what will prove best for the village in the long run," he said. "We've done so well streamlining these last years, like reducing full time staff to 18 from 35, and keeping on top of spending with monthly financial reports. Obviously, we have to do more."
On the revenue side of things, Janiuk has suggested the village ask residents for a one percent levy increase and perhaps add a fee for garbage service of up to $100 per household per year.
"Fees are really just another tax," Lynaugh noted. "But that is our reality, unfortunately."
He said he's going to keep the budget discussions on the committee agenda until the board gets solid information from the state and the village's budget considerations are complete.
"We have to keep thinking," he said.