The board meeting last night was very interesting, and I appreciate that the Trustees are at least looking at what I’ve been saying even if it’s to just deflect the criticism. I sincerely hope that the Trustees understand that my dissatisfaction with the job performance of the Trustees has nothing to do with the issues and concerns that I’ve brought up. My dissatisfaction is founded in the Trustees inability to: Call me back when asked; Represent my interests as a resident and taxpayer, Refusal to investigate my concerns with the appearance of the inaccuracy of Village Funds; not reasonably addressing my concerns with data driven facts as to the reduction of Public Safety Services; and not addressing my concerns with the Cuts to public safety services while administrative functions have increased in funding. I’m honestly OK with an answer to my concerns being “you’re wrong” AS LONG AS you back that up with actual information, data and an explanation and give me the chance to discuss your conclusions openly, but simply saying I’m wrong absent any explanation or data does little to abate my concerns. With all due respect, I expect and demand that my trustees do at least as much homework on my concerns as I have. Just saying that I’m embarking on a campaign of dis-information doesn’t make it so – especially when everything I’ve posted has the actual Village Documents posted here to back up my opinions. Of course, I would LOVE to actually talk with any of the Trustees, should any of you feel that your election to the board was for something greater than yourselves – I’ve been asking for that since October 19th, 2013, and have yet to receive a call from ANY of my elected representatives, despite multiple requests, here, in letters and at the public meeting.
It seems to me that it is the Trustee’s job to investigate concerns raised by residents – not dismiss them or take them personally. In my opinion, the appropriate course of action would be to investigate my concerns and claims, and say in public that these are serious issues that should be looked into. It would be appropriate to call me and talk to me about the issues. The Trustees are trustees because they are entrusted with ensuring that the Resident’s concerns are addressed AND that their tax dollars are being used appropriately. Not having done that, I must ask – why not call me back and speak to me about these concerns and issues? What is the Board afraid of? Is it trying to hide something by dismissing my concerns and publicly trying to make it sound like I have no basis for my concerns? Because I can’t actually get the opportunity to speak with any of my elected representatives, I have no other choice than to put my concerns out to the public, and let them decide if the Village is being completely forth-coming with it’s documentation.
Trustee Humpher, I will be happy to show up at the next Audit and Finance Committee Meeting, but the Village website has posted that isn’t until ((**updated 12/7**) January 14th, and there is a lot to deal with before then. I’d be happy to (and probably will) stand behind the microphone next board meeting and talk again, and I’d also be happy to have a discussion at that time about the problems that I’ve found and offer some real solutions. You are right, solutions are what makes the world a better place – but sometimes it’s necessary to expose the problems first. You have my phone number AND email addresses available to you, and if you don’t – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you my info right away. I’d also be happy to sit down with you for coffee somewhere and present you with the information that I’ve compiled from the Documents available on the Village website and through the FOIA that I’ve done, and discuss these issues with you. While I’ll definitely show up and “roll up my sleeves” at the next audit and finance committee meeting next January, you’re welcome to address my concerns before then. I’m sure that the Trustees aren’t happy that I’m putting this information out there – but honestly, until they are willing to open their minds and realize that I’m a citizen concerned about my home, my family and my tax dollars, this will probably be a more adversarial process than it needs to be.
Because my elected representatives have utterly refused to listen and discuss my concerns with me directly, I firmly believe it’s time to bring about some meaningful change. With that in mind, the Political Action section of this site is now unlocked, and the petitions that are posted there are unlocked as well. I will be starting a drive to get them signed. Anyone interested in signing one of the petitions, please feel free to contact me here on this website with the contact form, through my email or you can download the forms and follow the instructions.
With that being said, let’s discuss solutions. I posted in another post about my priorities as a resident, and those haven’t changed, so i will focus more on the budgetary process as Trustee Humpher has suggested. The Village is at a pivotal time, and part of the issue is that there isn’t a way to tell what numbers the village is actually using – since nothing really correlates, nor is understandable to a simple residents such as myself. Let’s assume for a moment that the differences between the Financial Statements and the Village’s Budget Documents are merely human error, that the assumptions being made about the projected revenues are based on some extremely complicated formula provided to the village by an outside vendor and that the Trustees have been told what is important solely by upper management and that is the reason why things have been set the way they have. All things being equal, the simplest explanation must be the correct one, right? I’d suggest that the Trustees just haven’t been given the full information about everything they need to know and as a result are operating under assumptions that are based on incomplete facts.
So I suggest we take a rather simple view of the finances so that we can get started on the solutions to some of the concerns that I’ve raised. Now, I’m going to base this off of the Audited Financial Statements, as I would hope those documents are the most accurate the Village has. I can believe that the economy does play some minor role in the revenue streams that the Village has – more foreclosures = less permits for now – but as sales go up (which they are) so do permits, licenses and fees. Other revenue streams are dependent upon things like businesses growing, police fines and fees and ambulance billing, etc. Those numbers have some variety to them, but ultimately can be estimated by (in my opinion) dropping the highest number and lowest number and averaging the remaining years.
So – here we go:
First, let’s talk about revenue. Is being 100% perfect on the projections absolutely necessary … no, as long as there is some rhyme or reason to the method. When 56% of the projections are over-projections, I must protest to that being called conservative. Conservative would be a majority of those projections being Under-Projected, meaning that the actual revenue was higher than the approved budgeted projection. To that end, It’s my firm belief that under-projecting is preferred than over-projecting. What this village needs more than a high contingency fund is a higher capital improvement fund as our buildings are aging, our fleets are aging, and any actual dollars over the budgeted dollars should go towards that end. Here is what I would recommend for revenue budget:
|Sales Taxes & Use||$6,079,532.00||$6,155,546.00||$5,796,490.00||$6,097,724.00||$6,635,718.00||$6,587,215.00||$6,230,004.25|
|Pension Property Tax **||$1,987,406.00||$1,987,406.00|
|Interest and Penalties on Taxes **||$11,649.00||$5,228.00||$899.00||$366.00||$213.00||–|
|Video Gaming Tax **||$768.00||$768.00|
|License and Permits||$1,298,635.00||$1,499,358.00||$1,572,549.00||$1,411,820.00||$1,416,228.00||$1,506,600.00||$1,458,501.50|
|Public Charges for Service||$1,229,366.00||$1,433,650.00||$1,383,451.00||$1,936,231.00||$1,655,195.00||$1,922,472.00||$1,598,692.00|
|Investment Income **||$331,483.00||$369,158.00||$80,849.00||$120,533.00||$23,261.00||$30,245.00||$150,196.25|
|Blue = Least Amount (Dropped from Avg)||Total Budget Dollars:||$23,444,706.25|
|Purple = Most Amount (Dropped from Avg)||Potential Revenue: To be applied to capital improvements:||$2,138,370.25|
|** = Not Counted towards Budget (bonus if we get it)|
So, with that budget, we then set our priorities with the mission statement as our guiding principle:
Public Safety: 70% = $16411294.00
* Police: 65% = $10667341.00
* Fire: 35% = $5743952.00
Public Works: 20% = $ 4688941.00
Administration: 10% = $2344471 (let’s remember that an additional (roughly) $700,000 for finance is included in the water & sewer fund bringing the total for the “administrative” functions to $3044471)
Finally, we give the budget dollar amounts to the departments to either A. Determine if they need that much to fulfill the mission that they’ve been tasked with and to “give back” what they don’t need or B. to give the board/audit and finance committee the detailed budgetary breakdown for approval.
I’ll let everyone digest this for now, as Part 2 will be more detailed in my view on expenditures …