The Wellington Village Council held its first formal public hearing on its budget for fiscal year 2021-22 on Monday, Sept. 13. The second public hearing and final adoption of the budget is set for Tuesday, Sept. 28.
Only two members of the public spoke regarding the budget, and both were in support. Also on the agenda was a series of housekeeping measures designed to keep village codes consistent with state ordinances.
Deputy Village Manager Tanya Quickel presented the balanced budget for the review, hearing and discussion.
“We remain committed to moving forward, forging a progressive way for the Village of Wellington that is sustainable in the future, as evidenced by your direction in policy here,” Quickel said.
The ad valorem tax rate remains at 2.47 mills, unchanged from the current year, in the total $134 million budget.
Property owners, however, may see a small increase in their local taxes if their property values increased.
Mayor Anne Gerwig stressed that the budget does not include any borrowing.
Vice Mayor John McGovern was happy with the village’s transparent budgeting process. “This is the budget that shows all the money that comes into the village from all sources, taxes, grants, everything,” he said.
Councilman Michael Napoleone added that it is a village budget that serves Wellington residents well.
“We have maintained services without raising the millage rate,” he said. “There are a lot of items that are in this budget. For example, the sheriff’s substation is not being built in this budget, it is just being designed in this budget.”
Gerwig said that could help the village get more grants.
“When grants come along, they are almost always a requirement in them that the project be ‘shovel ready,’ so for us to plan for these things that we’re not going to build yet, it’s good preparation,” she said.
Councilwoman Tanya Siskind thanked Quickel for her hard work. “You and your team do a great job of planning these projects and moving them along because they were planned, so they were ready for the next step,” Siskind said. “This is how the budget process works for projects.”
Councilman Michael Drahos supported paying for projects without borrowing. “We asked staff to find a way to pay for these things, so we don’t have to borrow money, and they’ve done it,” he said.
McGovern also noted that the budget sticks to keeping 25 percent reserves.
Quickel agreed. “We stick to that,” she said. “We have $16 million in unassigned reserves.”
McGovern added that it is also a budget that treats employees well.
“In the budget, we do not lay off a single person,” McGovern said. “We are giving a 3 percent raise, 2 percent cost-of-living and 1 percent for a merit raise for those who qualify for it.”
The staff’s budget analysis shows total revenues, transfers and balances of $59,829,231, with special revenue funds of $16,203,681. The capital funds, debt service and enterprise funds add to the total of $133,998.688.