Village Board, Library Clash on Fund Balance

Trustees want library to operate with less.

A dispute over prudent stewardship of taxpayer dollars broke out between the and the Library Board of Trustees Tuesday night when presented his 2012 budget. 

After Johnson presented his plan and Village Trustees asked questions about revenue and expenses asked Johnson about using some of the library’s reserves to reduce taxpayer burden. 

“Can you take $250,000 from your fund balance as an offset to the permanent fund?” Karton asked.

With that, asked if the contribution would keep the Library Board within its standard of a fund balance between 40 to 50 percent. The balance would be reduced to 39 percent. The Village and schools maintain a fund balance of 30 to 40 percent as a backup for unforeseen needs. 

explained the larger balance was necessary for cash flow planning to tide the library over as it waited for the distribution of property tax revenue. Property taxes are the primary source of funds for the library. 

, who was a school board member before joining the Village Board, was not satisfied with the response. He reasoned if the schools--which also receive most of their revenue from property taxes--could function with the lower ratio, so could the library. He indicated the Village Board controlled the purse strings. 

“How you spend your money is up to you,” Britton said. “How much you get is up to us. This process is to get you a number and you decide how to spend it.” 

reminded Johnson and Novak of an understanding between the Village and the library in 2009. 

“When we approved this (the financing of the new library) there was an understanding if there was a shortfall we would make a short term interest free loan. If the schools can operate on 30 to 40 percent the library can do so.” A loan was made in 2009 and not necessary in 2010. 

While Cummings and the Trustees talked about ways to accomplish the maneuver, Johnson continued to resist on principal. Johnson explained when the new library was built it was understood the Village would make a contribution each year to help meet the debt service. 

“We are a separately elected board,” Johnson said. “We were not elected so we could ask the Village for money to bail us out. We are committed to the taxpayer and it (the loan) is not ethically correct. It is comingling.” 

Cummings, like Johnson, is looking out for Glenview’s taxpayers. In a budget that is barely increasing the property tax levy she wants to find a way to let the citizens keep as much of their money as possible. 

“It’s all about the interest of the taxpayers,” Cummings said. “This is about how you accomplish it.” 

As Johnson finished his presentation, Cummings asked him to return for the Village Board’s budget workshop Nov. 1 to further discuss possibilities. Village Manager Todd Hileman hopes the budget can be approved at the regularly scheduled Nov. 15 meeting. 

Earlier in the evening during a budget workshop, Acting Finance Director Darrell Barber presented the latest budget proposals to the board. He also said the potential increase in property taxes would be minor. 

A homeowner who paid $5,000 in 2011 might pay as much as $5016 next year according to Baber. He projects revenues of $51,139,184 for 2012 and expenditures in the amount of $49,639,184. This will be discussed further at the Nov. 1 workshop and hopefully approved Nov. 15.

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