Hinsdale Budgets for New Pool Fence, Renovated Burlington Wall
The village's draft budget will get a public hearing before it is voted on at Tuesday's Board of Trustees meeting.
For Hinsdale residents, mid-April means its time to file taxes. For the Village of Hinsdale Board of Trustees, mid-April means its time to decide what the village’s portion of those taxes will be used for over the next 12 months.
The Board of Trustees will vote next week on a 2012-13 village budget that has not been a source of extensive public discussion, but does contain several notable items, including a new fence at the Hinsdale Community Pool and an improved Burlington Park brick wall, but lacks an electronic land-survey database one trustee has voiced support for.
Budgeting $55,000 to replace the fence that surrounds the Hinsdale Community Pool is an item that garnered some trustee discussion at the board's April 3 meeting, though no one spoke against it.
Parks and Recreation director Gina Hassett said the current fence has been in place since 1992 and has come loose on the north end of the pool property, along the railroad tracks, and must be replaced. The south fencing line could wait, but doing two rounds of construction would be more expensive.
“It would behoove us to do it all at one time,” Hassett said.
Though $55,000 is budgeted, a replacement chain-link fence could be as cheap as $33,000, village manager Dave Cook said.
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The proposed budget also sets aside $200,000 for the renovation of the wall that runs along the south side of Burlington Park, near the railroad tracks.
In an October 2011 memo to the Environment and Public Services (EPS) Committee, Public Services director George Franco said the wall is in “a state of disrepair.”
“Crews have been monitoring and maintaining the wall as time permits, placing the granite tops back in place as they fall,” the memo reads. “However, these occurrences have become more frequent and the granite tops are breaking and unable to be used.”
Village President Tom Cauley said initial estimates pegged the renovation job at $300,000, but the village only budgeted $200,000.
“It’s hard for me to believe it will cost $300,000 to fix that wall,” Cauley said.
Some of the other large expenditures included in the proposed 2012-13 budget include $225,000 for half of a new ambulance (Eden Supportive Living chipped in $110,000), $90,000 for a Memorial Hall exterior paint job, and $60,000 for village email server upgrades.
There is also a $150,000 line-item for improvements at Katherine Legge Memorial Park, but those expenditures will be covered by Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant money received earlier this year.
All in all, the 2012-13 budget accounts for more than $41 million in expenses over the next year—operating expenses including employee wages and pension obligations account for nearly $28 million of that total.
Advanced mapping not included
At the April 3 meeting, trustee Bob Saigh said he thought implementing geographic information systems (GIS) for village-staff use should be added to the coming year’s budget.
Last summer, the Environment and Public Services (EPS) Committee was split 2-2 on an agreement to join a consortium of area municipalities that would implement a GIS system to more efficiently map the village’s topography and infrastructure, among other things. The split vote was enough to get the item to a Board of Trustees vote, but GIS was put off by trustees due to other matters.
“[GIS] seems to me, as it’s been described, a marvelous advance in terms of … digitizing information so that it’s much more accessible and can be updated quickly,” Saigh said, adding that area municipalities including Oak Park and Maywood use GIS. “[It] can have real impact on decisions that are made ranging from the serious to perhaps even the mundane and routine.”
At a July 11 EPS meeting, Community Development director Robb McGinnis said that with the “super-detailed” information GIS supplies, village staff would have layered data they could manipulate to identify things such as lot size, underground utility line locations, fire hydrant locations, water flow data, and Special Service Area information.
Saigh suggested that the GIS costs, which would be $85,000 to $90,000 annually for “enhanced digital information” according to the July 11 EPS meeting minutes, be added to the village’s Master Infrastructure Plan.
“To me they ought to be hand and glove,” Saigh said. “I think it ought to be part of this board’s legacy, along with the Master Infrastructure plan, to proceed with implementing a GIS program.”
Trustee Doug Geoga said he thinks that GIS would benefit the village, but he called it a “nice to have,” not a “have to have.”
Therefore, Geoga said, “I don’t think we can afford it.”
Village President Tom Cauley agreed, saying village revenue needs to go towards things like pension funds and other capital needs.
“At this point, and in the foreseeable future, it’s not something I’d be in favor of,” Cauley said of funding GIS.
Before the board votes, there will be a public hearing on the budget at Tuesday night’s 7:30 p.m. meeting. The village encourages residents to submit questions and comments on the draft budget to Cauley (firstname.lastname@example.org), Geoga (email@example.com), or Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org).