With Lake Zurich officials anticipating a projected $771,572 deficit in the village's general fund, Trustee Terry Mastandrea said the board should reconsider allowing the utility tax to expire.
The utility tax is set to sunset on May 31. Mastandrea, who voted against approving the budget Thursday night, took some time to reiterate what he said at previous meetings about the spending plan. Mastandrea said that even if the board and staff work hard in the first quarter, the village still would come up short on money. He said if trustees chose not to sunset the utility tax, the village would be able to cover the projected $771,571 general fund deficit.
Mastandrea said staff should be allowed to try to find new revenue sources or places to cut, and then trustees can sunset the utility tax.
"Why would we give up funds that we can use to improve our infrastructure?" asked Mastandrea, who said the utility tax costs him about $3 per month.
Trustee Dana Rzeznik said she promised to sunset the utility tax and that trustees also need to think about the impact on local businesses.
"We have to think about the businesses in Lake Zurich. They use a lot of utilities, natural gas, and it's a huge burden on them," she said.
Trustee Jeff Halen agreed that the village should sunset the utility tax.
"This is revenue we do need, but it's also a revenue source that we told residents we'd look at ending if we got the , and we did," said Halen.
Trustees Rich Sustich and Jonathan Sprawka agreed.
"My position remains as it is in the past, that we should sunset it," said Sprawka.
All trustees agreed on one thing: that staff did a great job at putting together the budget.
"This was almost painless," said Rzeznik. She said while there still are tough decisions ahead, the budget process was "very transparent."
"I think that this was a much easier process, at least from a board perspective and I hope from a staff perspective, than we've seen in the past several years," he said.