The Village of South Jacksonville appears to be getting back to normal with their budget this upcoming year. The Village slashed several department budgets last year with the prediction that revenues would be exceptionally low last year due to the pandemic.
Village Office Manager and Treasurer Tiffanee Peters kicked off the meeting that last year’s budget was fairly flat in a few departments but revenues were actually up compared to predictions, leaving a small budget surplus.
Village Budget Committee Chair Megan Davidson says that this year will likely have capital outlay projects in the budget that have been delayed: “I can’t speak for prior [boards], but I think it’s just kind of the way it’s going [needing upgrades]. You need to update your systems, and especially with the police and with the new [law enforcement] bill that went through [the General Assembly], we’re going to have to have to update our equipment for that, and just get everything up to date.”
Davidson says one thing that her and Peters will be working on in coming months is an accounts balance sheet and a revenue stream report for the village: “I asked for more reports to look at for the board every month just to have more transparency and for us to be more involved with everyday operations. I think that is the best way to go, just so we do know more of what’s going on in the village and to get to a better place financially.”
The budget will see an increase in salaries this year. One of those salaries may increase exponentially. The Budget Committee has asked Fire Chief Rich Evans Jr. to compile comparative salaries for both a full-time and part-time fire chief from other departments in the area.
Davidson says it has been awhile since the village’s fire chief position has seen a raise: “I think maybe not this budget. I mean I think it’s open for discussion, especially since we’re talking about the ambulance, it’s open for discussion. It’s nothing cut and dry. We’re going to talk to the rest of the board members and get their thoughts and move forward. I mean that position hasn’t seen an increase in several years, so I would like to see, especially with the increased amount of paperwork and all the requirements that the fire chief position has, I think it would be great to increase that.”
New vehicles for the streets department, code enforcement, a resurrected ambulance service, and the police department are also all on the table for the board to consider in the upcoming fiscal year. Computer and digital infrastructure and updates to Village Hall also have been marked in the budget for board approval.
The village’s budget will likely see approval by the end of the month in another special meeting by the full board and then posted for public inspection for 30 days before it is finalized.