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updated: 11/14/2017 4:16 PM

Buffalo Grove's proposed budget includes 3.1% levy increase

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Buffalo Grove officials presented a proposed 2018 budget that is up less than 1 percent but has a proposed property tax levy increase of 3.1 percent, which officials blamed on reduced revenue from the state.

Village Manager Dane Bragg said the budget is up $290,000, with $79.9 million in revenue.

"Our legislators have not been kind to municipalities this year," he told the board at Monday's meeting. He cited the 2 percent collection fee on home rule sales taxes, at a cost of $85,000 to the village. He also noted the increase in the state income tax but with a reduction in the proportionate share to municipalities, "so we capture no additional revenue." Finally, he mentioned the state's leeching of 10 percent in payments from the local government distributive fund, at a cost to the village of $460,000.

"If the state had not seized our revenue, the village board would have real options to maintain property taxes at or near (a) zero increase," he said.

Bragg said the village's street program continues to be underfunded, as does the need to upgrade village facilities.

Bragg underlined several revenue opportunities, mainly related to economic development.

"The advantageous tax structure in Lake County continues to drive strong business activity in our business and industrial parks," he said, referring to the lower property tax rate on businesses in the collar counties and pointing to retail activity along Milwaukee Avenue, which will soon boast a Woodman's Food Market.

Jeffrey Berman expressed concern about the village's two golf courses which will require a subsidy from the village in excess of $300,000.

"The golf enterprise is underperforming and, from a financial perspective, it is requiring a direct taxpayer subsidy of funds that could otherwise be used for other purposes, particularly for capital investment," he said.

Bragg said this is the first year of a "program-based" budget, where residents can see and track the cost of providing specific services. It was one of the goals set out in the strategic plan and is the culmination of a five-year process.

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