10/5/2017 Forest Park Budget Meeting – Revenue

On October 5th, 2017 the Forest Park Village Council and staff met to discuss revenue increasing options for the village to help bridge the budget shortfall which is currently said to be around $1 million after a round of budget cuts. The previous budget cut meeting did not contain $600k in cuts from the original $1.6 million shortfall, but it has been reported that the shortfall has fallen to $1.2 million and now $1 million in the time since that workshop.

This meeting was originally scheduled for September 21st and was published in the Forest Park Review as such. On September 20th a public statement was issued to the Review about the updated schedule. The FPAC has posted about this publicly on the Facebook page hoping for more transparency and encouraging shifting these important meetings to the evening which has been done in the past. Sally Cody, administrative assistant, provided information that says about half of the budget meetings have been in the evening.

This budget meeting saw several revenue increasing proposals, most of them were focused on increasing parking revenue and some comments indicated that these costs would impact non-residents more than residents which was favorable to the group. Other proposals such as a 38.9% ($2.80/100ft^3 on top of $7.20/100ft^3) increase to the water rates via a new sewer tax would impact residents directly.

Below are the proposals listed from Tim Gillian’s, village administrator, memo to the committee with brief summary of discussion; the discussion jumped around a little bit, but the summary is presented in order:

  • Metered parking on Madison Street and Roosevelt Road
    • Contact with Total Parking Solutions (TPS) to get estimates.
    • Chamber was polled and is on board during the day, some controversy after 6PM.
    • 245 spots on Madison and roughly 50 on Roosevelt
    • $1 per hour would be the suggested rate with smart pay boxes one per side of the block.
    • No mention of issuing a competitive Request For Price (RFP)
    • Estimated $400k annually.
    • Agreement would be to pay off the infrastructure over 2 years and own the parking system after that.
    • General agreement
  • CTA Parking Lot
    • Recommendation to raise rates to $5/day
    • This lot is filled daily and the other CTA lots are partially filled
    • Village lot would still be cheaper and more convenient than the CTA lots.
    • Estimated $200k in revenue
    • General agreement
  • Parking Permits
    • Raise rates for parking permits to $65 for 24 hour passes and $40 for day and night passes.
    • Potential $100k in revenue
    • General agreement
  • Parking Tickets and Collections
    • Propose to raise overnight parking violations to $50
    • Revisit contract with collection agency
    • General agreement
  • Business Licenses
    • Discussion of raising gas station licenses for tank volumes
    • Raising fees on tobacco licenses
  • Sewer Tax
    • This would be a new line item tax on the water bill
    • A proposed $2.80/100 ft^3 would be added to the $7.20/100 ft^3 water rate
    • Average cost per homeowner would be $222/yr according to village estimates.
    • There was much discussion about how this money would be used to maintain and improve water infrastructure and flood mediation efforts and how the village has been lacking funds to do this currently
    • Gillian presented neighboring communities that charge similar amounts.  Comps were presented throughout.
    • Expected revenue would be $1.7 million
    • [Note] In the past 7 years the village has transferred between $800k and $900k from the water fund for “Generally, routine transfers occur to meet the operating purposes of another fund, such as the transfers by the Water of $900,000, to the General Fund for unallocated operating and overhead expenses.”
    • General agreement
  • Paramedics and Ambulance Charges
    • The discussion mainly centered around renegotiating the contract with the existing provider or seeking bids from other providers.
    • [Note] the current provider has not submitted a competitive bid since at least 2005 (via FOIA request).
    • Ambulance charges have not been adjusted since 2009.
    • Expected revenue would be $13.000
  • Refuse Collection Fees
    • The village has not passed on refuse collection fee increases since 2012 and recommends to do so.
    • Expected revenue would be $17.800
  • Red Light Cameras
    • A proposal to add two red light cameras on East bound Madison at Harlem and East bound Jackson at Harlem
  • Places of Eating Tax
    • As a non-home rule community the village has the option of taxing restaurants 1% of all food and beverage sales.
    • Some neighboring communities do this (River Forest and Westchester were provided examples)
    • Expected revenue would be $425k
    • This was met with universal disdain. Calderone said we will pass on that, but revisit in the future if necessary.
  • Utility Audit
    • Audit the utilities to make sure the village is collecting all it can
  • Credit Card Fees
    • This came up several times among these topics
    • The village has been covering credit card fees
    • A proposal was to pass credit card fees to the consumer at the parking lots (a majority of the transactions) and continue to pay the fees for transactions at the Village Hall window.
    • Annual fees are around $70k

The meeting concluded without a date announced for the next meeting. Toward the end of the meeting Joe Byrnes suggested that in light of these new tax lines and increases that the village should host a town hall meeting to present these items to the public. The suggestion was met with silence, but the FPAC will certainly send someone to live stream that meeting if it happens.

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2 Comments

  1. Steven Backman

    Thank you for compiling this comprehensive report. It is too bad that the 1% food and beverage was met with disfain, it would largely be a pass through tax. It has been my experience that many if not most drinkers and diners come from out of town, certainly on Madison St.

  2. I wonder what is meant by pass thru tax. I think it means a tax that the governments of Cook County keeps piling on their retailers until they “pass thru ” to Dupage or Lake Counties for purchases. Hell we’re already 3 points higher than Dupage let’s make it 4 right. Pass thru tax , a new word to define what it means to lose

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