A financial consultant pointed at economic revitalization and development as key ways to improve Glen Ellyn's revenues, underscoring a familiar point during a presentation Monday night.
An outside accounting and auditing firm was brought in this year to put together a financial scorecard for the village, comparing it to 2009 numbers and a study prepared several years ago by the finance commission that looks at how Glen Ellyn stands with 10 other peer communities.
Jim Savio, with Sikich LLP in Chicago, pointed out a few positives in the village's finances, including low debt and pension obligations. Also, the village's sales tax is stable and predictable, which makes it easy to budget, he said.
"Negatives include reliance on residential property taxes and the reliance on income tax, which is a risk that the state will reduce that shared revenue amount," he told the Board of Trustees. "Sales tax looks like it's based in large part on stable products but you don't capture a lot of the discretionary spending at this point."
The study compared Glen Ellyn to 10 other communities, including Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Naperville, and Wheaton in DuPage County, along with Arlington Heights, La Grange and Western Springs in Cook County and Geneva in Kane County.
Glen Ellyn's median family income in 2013 was just shy of $90,000, which is roughly in the middle of the group that ranges from more than $75,000 in Arlington Heights to about $160,000 in Hinsdale, the study showed. In terms of total property tax rate, Glen Ellyn was near the highest, with the taxes making up about 9 percent of the median family income, compared to Western Springs' 5.5 percent.
The amount of taxes going to the village and library was relatively low compared to the other communities, and ranged in the middle when looking at taxes going to schools and park districts.
The study showed Glen Ellyn's debt per capita and spending per capita on police protection and administrative expenses were also lower than most of the other communities.
"Obviously, Glen Ellyn would benefit from economic revitalization and bringing more commercial property into the village," Savio said. "That reduces the debt burden on the residents of the community and also adds the benefit of increasing sales tax as well."
At Monday night's meeting, the board of trustees also approved the village budget for a short 2014 fiscal year that runs from May through Dec. 31. That short year will allow the village to transition from a previous fiscal year of May through April to a calendar year.
In a few months, village staff will be working again on budget talks, this time for the 2015 year budget.
The village's financial scorecard is available on the village's website at glenellyn.org.