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How does the levy limit impact your community's services? This past year, we were not able to fill a full time police officer position because of financial reasons. Additionally we haven't been able to replace equipment in our public works and police departments, forcing our personnel to work with subpar equipment, for example public works has had to resort to borrowing snow blowers from a local contractor or shovel sidewalks out by hand.
How does the levy limit impact your community's budgeting practices and finances, eg, your amount of borrowing? So far our community hasn't had to resort to borrowing, but it has greatly limited the amount of capital that we can put away for larger projects. This past year we had less than $100,000 available for capital projects, which means that if levy limits continue, the Village will likely be forced to borrow for things that we ordinarily haven't, such as vehicles and equipment.
How does the levy limit impact your community's staffing levels and employee compensation? Levy limits have had a significant impact on our employees and our employment levels. This last year, we froze all employee wages except for police officers that have a union contract. This was after employees only saw 1% increases over the last several years when prior to levy limits employees would see between 2% and 3% increases annually. The lack of increases, certainly makes it more challenging for the Village to maintain employees and we have lost some to jobs that can pay more. Additionally, because of costs, we did not fill an open full time police officer position and we have decided not to fill a part time administrative assistant position that someone has just retired from. The library also chose not to fill a library aid position that opened up after someone left.
Anything else you'd like to say regarding the impact of levy limits on your community? If levy limits continue as is, it is very likely within the next two years that our community will lose its 24/7 police department because we have no where left to cut. It's also likely that the Village will be forced to borrow for items that will add debt to our books and make it even harder to maintain existing operations, thus putting us in a vicious cycle that would seemingly never allow the Village to get our heads above water again. As an administrator, I genuinely worry about the viability of a community like ours if we start losing critical services. The quality of life will certainly erode for the people here and it would be hard to imagine why people would choose to live or work in a place that is unable to provide the most basic and essentials of services.