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A: There are many different types of revenue that the Village relies upon in order to provide core services to our residents. Some revenue, like state shared taxes, sales taxes, and local eatery taxes are variable, and can change based on factors like the economy or changes in laws and procedures controlled by the State government. The Vehicle Sticker Program provides the Village with a steady and reliable source of revenue, which is approximately $700,000, or roughly what we spend on our Street Improvement Program each year.
As a non-home rule municipality, the Village is limited in the ways that we can raise revenues. Many of our neighboring communities that have eliminated their vehicle sticker programs have home rule status, which gives them the authority to make up the revenue with other sources, like raising sales taxes. With a smaller tax base and lacking home rule status, we lack some of the resources that our neighboring communities have.
Full question: If delayed revenue is a problem for the Village, why don’t you just mail out the vehicle sticker forms to use now? I have spoken with a couple of neighbors and we all would submit our funds as soon as we get the renewal forms.
Answer: First, I’d like to tell you how much I appreciate that you and your neighbors would be willing to pay for the stickers now, it means a lot to me. The reason we delayed the vehicle sticker program is twofold: to defer payment for residents whose incomes are negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis; and to push out the time frame because some of our residents still prefer to come into Village Hall to pay for the stickers in person, which is not currently feasible.
We conferred with our Finance Department and concluded that because we already have a high certainty of how much revenue we will receive from the sales of vehicle stickers (close to $700,000), deferring the program would be OK as long as we receive the revenue this fiscal year. The Village Board will discuss pushing out the vehicle sticker deadline even further for this year at our next meeting, and will consider permanently changing the payment deadline to sometime in the fall.
The biggest problem we are having with other sources of delayed revenue right now relates to the uncertainty of the amount, whether it is state-shared or local taxes. There is typically a two to three month gap between when these taxes are paid and when the Village receives them, so we can only estimate the negative impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on our budget when it comes to this type of revenue.
Question in entirety: Can you provide an update on code enforcement? Seems like things have gone down hill with motor homes in driveways for weeks and dump trucks parked in driveways, especially near Clauss Recreation Center (Turner Ave, West End and Bryn Mawr). Most of these are unincorporated homes, but there need to be some standards. Could the Village create a clean up Roselle week? Something to spark community involvement?
Answer: While many of the Village’s employees are working remotely while the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order is in effect, we do have code enforcement staff working here in town. If you have a code enforcement issue that you would like to report, the best way to do it is through the Code Enforcement Concern form on the Village’s website. The form has the capability to upload a picture to share with our code enforcers, so please upload a photo in the form when possible.
There are many pockets in Roselle, especially near Clauss Recreation Center, where Village residents and unincorporated residents live in very close proximity - sometimes next door to each other. Unless there is a special agreement in place, the Village does not provide services to them or regulate them. Unincorporated properties near Clauss Recreation Center receive services from DuPage County and Bloomingdale Township, and follow regulations established by those taxing bodies. While Bloomingdale Township does have special regulations for weeds and grass (may not exceed 12 inches), there are not many other regulations concerning property appearance. The Village simply does not have the authority to regulate the unincorporated properties.
Many of our neighboring communities have a once-a-year community clean up day, which they do in partnership with their waste hauling vendor. We can review a program like this and see if it is feasible for Roselle in the future.
We are very aware of the major impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on our everyday life. It is not only a health crisis, but also a social and economic crisis. The Governor, along with all elected officials, has been presented with a multi-faceted crisis that is unprecedented. I am a small business owner here in Roselle, and I am very much feeling the pain that the closed economy has brought to us. So it’s certainly a challenge to identify the right balance between protecting both public health, and the health of our local economy. I’m committed to keeping our community safe, protecting our most vulnerable residents, and ensuring safe working conditions for employees and first responders, while also recognizing the economic impacts caused by the pandemic.
On May 5, the Governor released a 5-phase plan to reopen the state. Many local leaders are still evaluating this plan. As a member of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, Roselle is engaging with DuPage County and other municipalities to reach out to the Governor’s Office to better understand this approach to reopening the economy. At the present time, our municipal buildings remain closed to the public, and we changed many of our operations and procedures to help ensure that employees, first responders, and the community are safe. The Village will continue to monitor and respond to the decisions made by the Governor and communicate with the community as we continue to address this health and economic crisis and prepare for the eventual reopening of Roselle.
Village Board had an initial discussion at its April 13 meeting about the anticipated revenue shortfalls resulting from the sharp decline in economic activity caused by the pandemic. We discussed a proposed Budget Response Plan that identifies financial challenges and initial strategies that we are undertaking in an attempt to minimize the impacts. We realize that there is a lot of uncertainty involved, and the plan will be regularly reviewed and revised in response to the latest economic data. The Village Board will conduct another review of this plan at our May 11 Village Board Meeting and provide a budget update to the community shortly after our meeting.
Part of the uncertainty comes into place because there is a lag in reporting of some of our revenues, like state shared sales tax, income tax, and other local taxes. We won’t know the disruption of major revenue sources collected in March, April, and May (which are anticipated to be significant) until June, July, and August, respectively. However, we are taking immediate actions to reduce expenditures in anticipation of most General Revenues, which pay for the Village’s day-to-day operations, being reduced by as much 30%, which is nearly $2.5 million for the 2020 budget year.
So far, the plan includes deferring vehicle and other equipment purchases, eliminating certain elective spending on things like training, meetings, various commodities, and special events; implementing a hiring freeze on all vacant positions; deferring the reforestation program, the street improvement program, and the water main replacement program for this year; and delaying the zoning ordinance update project. While the Village Board has taken specific strategic steps over the years to build fund balance reserves, it’s unclear at this time how much of these funds can be used to help cushion the full economic impact caused by the pandemic on the Village’s short and long-term finances.
I was part of the Finance Subcommittee for the Village Board back in 2009 when we went through similar budget reviews in response to the Great Recession. We were able to guide the Village through financial hardship back then, and we will use that experience to help as we guide the Village through this financial uncertainty today.
According to Governor Pritzker’s modified Stay-at-Home order effective May 1, retail stores not designated as Essential Businesses may re-open for the limited purposes of fulfilling telephone and online orders, which are deemed to be "Minimum Basic Operations". These orders can be fulfilled through pick-up outside the store and through delivery. We are asking that you please follow these guidelines for safety for employees and our residents.