With the fiscal year ending April 30, the approved Monday next year's budget and continued its policy of making sure it was a balanced one, as well as projecting a surplus. And doing all of it without any cuts.
At a time when municipalities struggle with figuring out how to make ends meet year to year, how is the Village of Frankfort able to keep day-to-day operations running smoothly while still able to pay for big-ticket projects?
The key to this is a combination of conservative budgeting and creative solutions when it comes to finding the money to pay expenses, said Frankfort Village Board Trustee Cindy Heath at Monday's board meeting. Heath, who also heads the village's Finance Committee, said village staffers work hard to find and apply for grants and other funding available as a way to offset out-of-pocket spending. And all of that is done without sacrificing services and projects the community needs, she added.
The village's budget is broken down into two parts: the corporate fund, which bankrolls the village's day-to-day operations; and the utility operating fund, which finances the water and sewer utilities managed by the village.
Here's a breakdown of those numbers:Corporate Fund Projected Budget Surplus 2011-12 $11.6M $800K 2012-13 $12.12M
Utility Operating Fund
When tackling the budget, village officials adopt a "worst-case scenario" philosophy, planning for the least-desirable financial possibilities when it comes to revenue and spending, said Village Administrator Jerry Ducay in an interview Wednesday. That approach, combined with a spend-only-what-you-need-to attitude, creates budget surpluses. The village relies on these excesses to eventually fund large capital projects without going into debt, Ducay said, adding that these projects can be anywhere from five to 10 years down the line. In fact, village officials are focused on hitting those projected surpluses, making these financial windfalls essential parts of the budgeting, and not simply happy bonuses, he said.
The 2011-12 fiscal year surplus in the corporate fund comes in large part thanks to better-than-expected revenue from the village's sales tax, which is Frankfort's primary income stream. The village budgeted for about $4.3 million in sales tax revenue, and when the books finally close on it in June, that income could exceed $4.7 million, Ducay said. That, along with an increase in income tax revenue, could potentially see another $100,000 added to the surplus, he said.
The village also expects those revenue streams, along with income generated from leasing tower space to cellular companies, to stay strong. That helps offset the money Frankfort will lose in property taxes after decreasing its levy, as well as spending increases when it comes to garbage pickup, public works and police pension and personnel funding, Ducay said.
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