Ridge cuts budget, still expects surplus in 2013

By Kelly White

Chicago Ridge plans to reduce spending by 2 percent in 2013, and projects a small surplus in its annual budget.

Village trustees have approved a 2013 budget with expenditures of $13.07 million, a decrease of $266,991 from the $13.34 million spent last year. Revenues are projected at $13.09 million, a decrease of $248,223 from $13.34 million in 2012.

The budget has a projected surplus of $18,179, compared to a $589 deficit last year.

"With nearly 75 percent of the budget attributed to salaries and benefits consistently over the last three years, it is quite an accomplishment for the ability of the village to control costs effectively," said Chicago Ridge village Clerk Chuck Tokar.

The budget will include $1.54 million toward the village's police pension fund, an increase of $500,000 from the $1.04 million in 2012. The fire department pension fund will get $587,974, a projected increase of $37,974 from the $550,000 last year.

To help compensate for the increase in money allocated to the police pension fund the village has increased its home rule sales tax rate from .75 percent to 1 percent, its motor fuel tax from 5 percent to 6 percent, and its food-and-beverage tax to 3.25 percent. The home rule sales tax hike will essentially offset Cook County's .25 percent sales tax rate decrease that became effective Jan. 1.

The village has earmarked $3.04 million for this year's sewer and water fund budgets. The water fund ($2.64 million) includes $120,000 for water main improvements, while the sewer fund ($401,422) includes $125,000 for new vehicles.

Under capital improvements, upgrades to computer servers and the village's website will cost an estimated $25,000.

"Budgeted revenues for capital improvements are expected to decrease significantly from 2012 because [state] grants have decreased substantially, and the village would not be surprised to not be issued any grants from the state of Illinois for 2013," Tokar said.