By Kevin Beese
It took two votes, a 22-minute delay to clarify perimeters of the village’s fiscal year and an impassioned plea from the interim finance director, but Broadview finally has a budget in place.
More than two months into its 2017-18 fiscal year, the village did not have an approved spending plan, primarily because it has been without a finance director since November.
The proposed budget was initial defeated at this week’s Village Board meeting by a 3-2 vote, with concerns ranging from capital funds being used for the general fund to the village’s fiscal year not being clearly defined in the document.
Voting against the budget initially were Trustees Tara Brewer, Judy Brown-Marino and John Ealey. Voting in favor of the budget as presented were Trustees Judy Abraham and Verina Horne. Trustee Sherman Jones was absent. After the proposed budget was initially defeated, Kevin Hicks, the village’s interim finance director, asked the board to reconsider pushing approval of the spending plan to yet another meeting.
“We are in July,” Hicks said. “The fiscal year started in May. We are two months down from the start of the fiscal year. If you think you are going to move it along, the next board meeting is in August … Is there anything we can do to pass a budget today?”
He urged trustees to tell him if they had a problem with anything in the budget so that the issue could be worked out on the spot at Monday’s board meeting – and get the budget approved. Ealey said he could not support the document without defining when the village’s fiscal year started and ended.
“I’m not sure when the village’s fiscal year is,” by looking at the document, Ealey contended. “It never mentions the end of the year.”
Hicks said the document by its vary nature defines what constitutes the village’s fiscal year (May 1-April 30)
Ealey said he has been through the budget process multiple times and didn’t agree with Hicks’ assessment. “This isn’t my first rodeo,” Ealey said
The Village Board meeting was suspended for 22 minutes for the village attorney to insert language into the spending plan designating the beginning and end of the fiscal year. Brown-Marino said she was concerned about the village taking several million dollars from the capital improvements fund and using it for general fund use. She likened the move to steps taken by the administration of former Mayor Henry Vicenik “which spent proceeds from bonds to cover village finances.” She said she also had a problem with $500,000 being in the budget for a new roof for Village Hall.
“I think it’s a mistake,” Brown-Marino said of the expenditure. She has said that any roof repair should be considered with any building addition needed as a result of consolidating emergency dispatch services with Maywood. When the fiscal year was defined in the second version of the budget, Brown-Marino was asked if that was enough to get her to support the spending plan. “It’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” Brown-Marino said.
Brown-Marino was the sole “no” vote when the budget passed in the second attempt by a 4-1 tally. Both Brewer and Brown-Marino took exception to statements putting the blame on the budget delay on trustees failing to act sooner.
Brown-Marino said trustees were told in early April that a budget would be forthcoming and that village Treasurer Tom Hood just needed another set of financial numbers to come through to get a budget ready for presentation. “I’m very disappointed. I believed the budget was going to be done,” Brown-Marino said.
Brewer said that trustees pushed every day in the winter and spring for the budget to be formulated and presented. “I hope for fiscal year 2018, the budget process is done right,” Brewer said.
Trustee Horne said she was happy with the budget, which includes money for supporting Broadview Little League Baseball, and information technology, including getting the village’s website up and running.