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Village of Woodridge announces employee layoffs

Woodridge

The downturn in revenue sparked by the economy has hit home for people employed by the village of Woodridge, which this week announced layoffs of some of its employees due to budget woes.

Village officials announced this week that they have laid off 10 workers in order to cut into a projected $2.6 million budget deficit.

And more budget cuts could be coming.

 The 10 positions were spread out among all of the village’s department: • Police Department: One community service officer • Public Works Department: One maintenance worker and one village engineer • Planning and Development Department: One part-time planner • Administration/Village Clerk’s Office: One administrative assistant and one IT coordinator • Finance Department: One fiscal assistant • Building and Zoning Department: One office associate and two building inspectors

 These include one community service officer in the police department. Two in the public works department, three in the building and zoning department, two in the administration/village clerk’s office, which included an IT coordinator, a fiscal assistant in the finance department, and a  part-time planer in the planning and development department.

The move also combines the planning and development department and the building and zoning department to create a new community development department, said assistant Village Manager Peggy Halik.

The cuts, which went into effect on Feb. 1, come in the wake of 10 other positions that were eliminated late last year, six  through attrition and four through a voluntary separation program, Halik said.

“The reduction in personnel was one of the necessary steps that was taken in order to reduce expenditures,” she said.

The decision will save the village about $483,000 between fiscal year 2010 and 2011, and about $780,000 for fiscal year 2012 and beyond, which the village is set to begin looking at in March, officials said.

The job reductions are part of a proposal to develop a five-year financial plan to reduce costs by roughly $9.5 million. The main goal of the Village Board is to close the budget gap without increasing costs to residents and businesses in the village, Halik said.

This week, the Woodridge Village Board will hold a workshop to review the results of a Special Events Survey conducted last month regarding the cost associated with more than 10 village events, including annual events such as the Woodridge Jubilee and the holiday tree lighting ceremony, and asked residents to rate them by popularity.

Input from the special events survey will be part of the considerations made in determining how limited funding is allocated to support special events, said Melissa Bohse, management analyst for the Village of Woodridge.

Even with all of the planned reductions in place, the village will still be spending down its reserves by more than $1 million every year, Halik said.

“The plan being developed will allow us to meet our goal of a 25 percent of operating expenses fund balance in the 5th year (2014-2015) of our five year plan,” she said. “We will continue to look for every available opportunity to reduce our costs.”

Last November, the village announced it was facing a roughly $2.6 million budget deficit due to a decrease in revenue across the board.

Mayor William Murphy last month at his State of the Village Address said that difficult decisions will need to be made by the board to address the deficit, not just for this year, but for the next five years.

Other cuts that have been made include freezing all non-union salaries, and two major projects for the village have been put on hold indefinitely. Those include an $11 million expansion of the police department facility, and the building of a pedestrian bridge over Route 53 at about $4.5 million.

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