Burr Ridge Village Board rejects budget plan

<p>Mayor Mickey Straub | Sun-Times Media file photo</p>

Mayor Mickey Straub | Sun-Times Media file photo

Burr Ridge officials will need to pass a budget at their April 28 meeting or face a government shutdown.

That doomsday scenario was created after the Village Board failed to pass the 2014-15 budget Monday. Trustees were divided on the budget with three voting against the village’s financial blue print, feeling that not enough was done to address a $850,000 general fund deficit looming in 2016-17.

With the board divided 3-3, the issue went to Mayor Mickey Straub. Initially, Straub abstained, saying he wanted board members to work out their budget differences. When told his abstention would be viewed in the affirmative and pass the budget, Straub voted no, stating a village budget should not hinge on a mayor’s’ vote and sending the issue back for further discussion

Voting in favor of the budget were trustees Al Paveza, Leonard Ruzak and Janet Ryan Grasso.

Voting against the budget were trustees Diane Bolos, Guy Franzese and John Manieri.

“There was the yes team and the no team,” Straub said. “The yes team says “yes” to growth. The no team had two months to iron this out.”

Straub said Village Administrator puts more hours in on village work in two weeks than more trustees do all year.

“He eats and breathes this stuff,” Straub said. “We need to rely on him.”

Straub said he hopes that enough common ground can be found in a third budget meeting next week for trustees to have a unanimous or nearly unanimous vote on the budget April 28.

Stricker noted Tuesday much of the $854,225 budget deficit for 2016-17 is due to the village’s accelerated road maintenance program and the rehabilitation of Garfield Street.

“We are looking at doing both in one year …. That is too much to handle (in the general fund),” Stricker said. “You can’t expect the operations fund to cover capital projects.”

He said the Village Board will have to examine alternative revenue sources. One he suggested at an earlier budget meeting is replacing the soon-to-expire bonds used to bring Lake Michigan water to the village with capital improvement bonds. That would generate additional revenue for the village and not increase residents’ taxes, he said.

If a similar 3-3 vote on the budget occurs at the April 28 meeting, Straub said he would not hesitate to vote for the budget.

“But I wanted to give the trustees one more chance,” he said. “The tendency is to squander them when you have extra chances.”

Manieri said Tuesday he voted against the budget because he didn’t feel enough has been done to address the projected 2016-17 deficit.

“We took an oath to do the village business and be the keepers of the money,” Manieri said. “We need to plan now, not when it becomes a crisis. . . . If you had a big expense on your home coming in two or three years, you would plan for it now, wouldn’t you?”

Straub said trustees should not make the budget political.

“I was offended by that remark” Manieri said. “It seems like when a vote does not go his way, he puts a political spin on it.”

Straub said Tuesday “political” may not have been the right word to use.

“But everything I’m for, they’re against,” he said.

“It’s mighty coincidental that they all voted alike,” Straub added. “‘Political’ may have been too strong, maybe it should have been ‘personality differences.’ But they have never accepted that I won. They vote in a bloc. (The budget vote) was like they scripted it.”

Trustee Franzese said he didn’t want the village to have to get into crisis management, such as Lyons, which recently cut one-third of its police force because of financial issues.

“I am uncomfortable with this budget which shows a growing budget deficit in 2016-17,” Bolos said Monday. “I don’t think enough has been done to address” future deficits.

Paveza said the village administrator’s conservative fiscal views often project future budget deficits, but those wind up much closer to zero or even surpluses when those budget years arrive.

After the three trustees voting against the budget bristled at Straub’s use of the word “political,” Ruzak said he was “offended by you three” for holding up the budget-approval process.

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