Balanced Village Budget Points to Encouraging Forecast for FY 2021

Balanced Village Budget Points to Encouraging Forecast for FY 2021

After a year of great uncertainty, Northbrook’s local economy appears to have weathered the storm. Sales tax receipts have slightly exceeded the Village’s adjusted budget for FY 2020/21, and the Board of Trustees is expected to vote on a proposed balanced budget for FY 2021/22 on April 13.With a cautiously optimistic revenue outlook and a variety of cost-cutting measures, the proposed budget shows a General Fund total of $45,508,210.  A number of deferred capital expenditures, such as vehicle replacements and major repairs, will move forward.  The budget also includes $174K for downtown streetscape improvements, plus funding to support sustainability initiatives in keeping with the ongoing Climate Change Task Force recommendation process.

As determined by the Board in late 2020, the new budget includes no increases in property tax levies for the Village. Sources of increased revenue include additional sales taxes from online sales delivered within the Village, a full year of cannabis sales taxes, an increase in construction permits at Northbrook Court, and an anticipated improvement in hotel tax receipts. Overall, revenues are anticipated to be about 10 percent higher than estimated for FY 2020/21.

Village Board members praised the budget for achieving a wide range of goals while remaining balanced.  “I was anticipating getting something that would really stretch us, because the current year is such a challenge,” noted Trustee Kathryn Ciesla. “I was really pleased with what we’re reviewing here.”

“I think it’s very well done,” concurred Trustee Robert Israel. “It is not a mythical budget. I think it actually represents what we are going through.”

Economic indicators presented to the Board show signs of a steadying economy.  Local sales tax receipts in the third quarter, although down by 12.7 percent year-to-year, still slightly exceeded adjusted predictions. Significant increases at retailers like garden centers, home improvement stores, and supermarkets helped to balance declining sales in other sectors. Residential home values are also up around 10 percent thanks to a hot sellers’ market. On the other hand, commercial office vacancies have risen to 17.2 percent, with the impact hitting Class A properties on Skokie Boulevard the hardest.

The Board is expected to hold a public hearing and vote on the budget at its next meeting. The Village’s fiscal year begins May 1.