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UPDATE: Leaf Pickup, Police Station in Approved Village Budget

The New Lenox Village Board approved its fiscal year 2013 budget. Get a rundown of what's included and what's changed this year.

A new leaf collection program and the village's $24 million capital improvements plan are two highlights from New Lenox's fiscal year 2013 budget.

On Monday, the Village Board approved the budget. Last month, the board met to discuss the state of the village's finances and potential changes to revenue and expenditures. The proposed budget is $95.6 million, with a balanced operating budget.

"It’s still tough times, but it’s forcing us to plan," trustee Dave Smith said. "And I think the best of times are just beginning for us."

You can view the village's presentation and a rundown of some expenses in the PDF attachments to this article. 

Capital Improvements Plan

The biggest addition to this year's budget is the capital improvement plan approved last year. Some new revenue has been realized this year, but the fiscal year 2013 will be the first full year with the new revenue. 

Last year, the board voted to increase the New Lenox sales tax by a 1/2 a cent, bringing the total rate to 8.5 percent, and also increase its utility tax 5 percent on gas and electric . 

The village's budget includes a $24 million bond issuance that estimates a $10.5 million police station, $9.5 million public works facility and $4 million extension to Nelson Road.

That will account for an estimated $3.6 million boost to revenue this fiscal year. The largest chunk of that ($1.85 million) will go toward the capital improvements, including engineering, right-of-way, furniture and even some architectural fees for the new police station, public works facility and Nelson Road extension.

"The utility tax and home rules sales tax allows for an investment in the village’s future," said village finance director Kim Auchstetter, who gave the budget presentation to the board. 

The remainder of the new revenue will go toward creating a master plan for the vacant area near the Village Commons, paying for additional road resurfacing and new equipment. 

New Equipment, Staff

While revenue has increased through the new taxes, some expenses have increased as well with new equipment and personnel. 

The village plans to replace 23 old computers and also purchase three new vehicles, two of which will be leaf vacuum trucks. With these new machines, the village will be able to provide the service of leaf pickup where residents can just rake leaves to the curb.

“In the communities that have leaf pickup, there’s no program that’s more popular," Mayor Tim Baldermann said.

Village Administrator Kurt Carroll added that the machines will also help the village's efficiency when put to use in the sanitary system or during possible water line breaks. 

Sticking with the streets department, the village plans to add three new street laborers, move a part-time clerical employee to a full-time position and pay a full year's salary for a human resources director who came on mid-year. 

Water and Sewer Costs

As the village and other municipalities that get Lake Michigan water, the uncertainty has the village planning in the budget. 

In addition to those potential water costs, New Lenox plans to spend about $1.3 million on removing phosphorous from the waste water treatment plant No. 1 and $750,000 on anti-degradation at plant No. 2. 

Road Projects

The village's capital improvements plan called for about $1.1 million spent annually on road resurfacing, allowing the village to fix about four times the amount of road it currently does each year. That plan wasn't supposed to kick in until 2013, but now the village . 

Metra Parking Fee

The budget includes a plan to increase the daily parking fee from $1 to $1.25, which will help cover the annual cost of maintaining the lot. Currently, residents who don't use the lot .

Auchstetter said the village would review the parking fee annually and consider another increase in the future to help save for necessary lot maintenance, which occurs every 15 years for each of the four lot sections. Ideally, Auchstetter said, the village would save about $57,000 for future lot maintenance every year. But with new streets employees added, the village hopes it can do more lot maintenance in-house instead of contracting the work.

JP March 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM
"It’s still tough times, but it’s forcing us to plan," trustee Dave Smith said. Really?!? Um, hello, you should have been planning all along. If you only plan when times are tough, then we need new management & leadership. Perhaps better foresight and planning years ago could have prevented or at least decreased the tax increases mentioned.
nancy m duzinskas March 30, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Will there be any money for a new police station especially since there is a lawsuit against the New Lenox Police Department for police brutality against Brian Wilhelm? How come there was never any mention of this lawsuit anywhere in any of the local papers? It's a little premature to suggest bullyding a new police station especially when this kind of lawsuit is against our village too. Just the legal expenses will be astronomical alone even if they don't go to a full fledged trial. Makes you wonder who is watching the monies in this town.
N Yan March 30, 2012 at 01:27 PM
jp couldn't have said it better. What a joke.
Dede March 30, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Sure they plan. They found a way to help pay for a new police station. I wonder if they'd be building if a vote had been put up to the residents.
Marie March 30, 2012 at 07:16 PM
These board members and the mayor have been in their positions long enough for residents to expect more responsible planning with OUR money. If this is the best they can do - spending millions on another oversized municipal building during a recession - it's time to replace them.
just my opinion March 30, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Seems like the town of NL went on a frivolous shopping spree with out money . None of these items are a necessity .
Tom Lewis April 12, 2012 at 01:50 PM
If we would not have had Home Rule, this would not have passed. I feel that Mr. Tuminello would have gotten more votes in his bid for the county board than he did. All village board members voted yes on this resolution.
nlretired April 12, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Let's see: The Village of New Lenox didn't have to lay anyone off during these tough economic times. Taxpayers have gotten MORE than promised in the 40 % and 50 % village real estate tax rebates. New Lenox has continued to PROSPER with the additions of Walmart and the associated stores in that location. New Lenox landed a jewel in the Silver Cross replacement hospital. New staff have now landed Portillo's to finish out the Target plaza location. Clearly, the village and the mayor and the trustees PLAN very effectively and to the benefit of its residents.
Tom Lewis April 12, 2012 at 04:42 PM
You must have a nice retirement plan.
nlretired April 12, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Notwithstanding the increase in the local tax rate (which applies to anyone purchasing in our village) and utility tax increase, we still come out ahead, given the real estate tax rebate, elimination of vehicle stickers, electrical aggregation savings, additional services we get, and the improved quality of life. So, on balance, I'm spending less for what I get from the Village, and have more goods and services available to me in the community. IF I use Metra (which I did for 30 years), then it is proper that I pay more for it, rather than EVERYONE. How exactly does this hurt me or any other resident of the Village? Home Rule has, on balance, been GOOD for the Village and the residents! Whatever my retirement plan, or any other resident's, or their income, we ALL come out ahead by the planning and actions of the Village. Our real estate taxes are high, but NOT because of the Village share.
judd w. bonamino April 12, 2012 at 07:09 PM
i guess not everyone is fed up when election day comes around voter turn out is so low it makes me sick.
Tom Harris April 13, 2012 at 09:59 AM
Tom Lewis and Marie complain about everything! Tom, you should support the police station. The police have been at your house for problems so many times you should personally fund the building! Marie, you are just unhappy because of the senior housing proposed by your house. Thus village board and mayor have made New Lenox the premier community in Will County.
Marie April 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM
You are too funny, Tom! No, I don't live near this proposed complex. Nice try, though. I don't think opinions about particular developments in the community are limited to those who live in its immediate proximity.
Tom Lewis April 13, 2012 at 06:00 PM
At least I use my correct name, Mr. Harris?
Tom Lewis April 16, 2012 at 06:02 AM
You can certainly tell when you get into New Lenox by the bumps you go over on Cedar Rd. Maybe they can fix those bumps instead of $24 to fix the buildings they are going to fix. Yes I am being facetious, but I am waiting for a reply from Mr. Tom Harris, or whatever your name is.

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