Another example of behind-the-scenes work is the budgeting process currently under way. We see several opportunities to reduce costs while maintaining services, through outsourcing some activities, by streamlining some operations and possibly by sharing equipment with other municipalities. Some of these ideas are in the early stages of discussion; however, one plan that we hope to implement this year is the outsourcing of trolley operations.
We spent much of last year investigating how to replace the Village’s aging DOS-based accounting system, in terms of what software is most appropriate, who would install the new system and how we can assure backup and a smooth transition between the old and new systems. We are now ready to move ahead and will be requesting bids on the new system. In addition to streamlining the accounting process, the new system will make analyzing expenses much easier and will assist in planning beyond the next budget year.
The Village board has frequently discussed the need to improve communications with residents. We hope you have seen increased information in our local papers about upcoming projects and explanations of our infrastructure challenges. We will try to do more—in the media, online, and at Village board meetings. The board welcomes comments at public meetings and will try to respond to comments and questions raised from the floor while also ensuring that our board meetings run smoothly.
The inequitable distribution of both the sales tax (one percent to the village) and the county bed tax (zero percent) has been a sore subject for many years. With our large village infrastructure and small tax base we must continue advocating for our fair share of revenue. Recently we have been extraordinarily successful at seeking out and obtaining grant money to assist with infrastructure projects. We intend to build on this success and expand our efforts to increase funding sources.