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Posted on: November 29, 2016

City of Highland Park Approves 2017 Budget

 The City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget at the City Council meeting on November 28, 2016. The budget of approximately $84 million focuses on the City’s mission to provide fiscally responsible, high quality services through effective, transparent and collaborative governance. The priorities guiding the City for the year are fiscal stability, public safety, infrastructure investment and community vibrancy. The 2017 budget has a balanced operating budget with operating revenues exceeding operating expenditures. The budget is the principal policy document guiding the City’s activities and financial plans for the upcoming year.

“The City’s budget is our most important policy statement. The 2017 budget reflects the values and expectations of our community. This budget focuses on our core priorities, finds efficiencies and meets and exceeds obligations, protecting our financial stability both now and in the future.” stated Mayor Nancy Rotering. “This budget positions us to continue to strategically achieve our policy and operational goals.”

In preparation for the 2017 budget development, the City held four neighborhood meetings to obtain feedback about City services and programs. The budget process also included five budget workshops and a public hearing. Highlighted in the budget is over $14 million of capital improvement projects, an increase in staffing by 1.4 full-time equivalents, and several organizational efficiencies which will maintain high quality service levels.

As identified in the City of Highland Park 5-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), 2017 infrastructure improvements total $14.4 million and include $3.4 million in street improvements, $1.1 million in bridge improvements, $3.4 million in sewer upgrades, $2.7 million in water upgrades, $317,900 in Bike Walk 2030 Plan sidewalk additions, and $1.2 million in other infrastructure upgrades.

The 2017 budget includes a 5% water rate increase to help offset the capital investment in the City’s water infrastructure. The resulting water rate continues to be one of the lowest water rates and in the bottom quartile in the Chicagoland area. Also included in the budget are vehicle sticker fee increases and liquor license fee increases of approximately 3%, upon a comprehensive review of City fees in comparison to area communities.

The budget includes a City total tax levy increase of $524,000 fully dedicated to state-defined public safety pension funding, impacting an average $500,000 household by approximately $10 per month. The 2017 budget contributions to the police and fire pension funds total almost $7.5 million, including $5.4 million actuarially required by State statute and $2.1 million in additional funding. The State mandates that public safety pension funds be 90% funded by year 2040. State-mandated contributions must be made annually. The 2017 budget continues the City’s goal of accelerated contribution to help minimize the impact to residents over time.

“Adoption of a budget is a key policy decision by the Mayor and City Council and establishes the direction for the City today and for years ahead,” stated City Manager Ghida Neukirch. “The collaboration between City staff, the Mayor and City Council has been critical as recommendations were evaluated and key decisions were made with an eye toward seeking ways to provide outstanding services while maintain a stable positive financial outlook. City staff is prepared to take on the responsibility of accomplishing the goals and objectives defined in the budget.”

Budget presentations and City Council workshops are available at www.cityhpil.com/budget. Questions about the City’s budget may be directed to the Finance Department at 847.432.0800 or email finance@cityhpil.com.
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