The Village of Park Forest is implementing cost saving measures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Park Forest will shave more than $2.2 million in expenses from its proposed $55 million dollar budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
A combination of program cancellations, a hiring freeze, and suspending virtually all capital improvement projects for 12 months will shave $2,217,391 from village expenditures. The cuts were discussed and agreed to during budget review sessions held earlier this month.
“These are unprecedented times which have forced all organizations to adapt,” said Village Manager Tom Mick.
“The Mayor, Board of Trustees and Management Staff are mindful of today’s economic climate. To their credit, the Mayor and Board moved forward with some tough decisions that were necessary to maintain the financial stability Park Forest has operated under for decades,” Mick said.
The cost saving measures will provide an important boost to Park Forest’s reserve fund balances. The village, which typically maintains reserve funds to cover three months of expenditures, will now have enough funding in place to cover four months of expenditures. The dollars could prove critical to maintaining full village operations should the COVID-19 pandemic create any unforeseen financial shortfalls.
Of the $2.2 million in cuts, the village will save $270,000 with the cancellation of the Park Forest Aqua Center’s 2020 season. The season was officially called off last week due to the coronavirus. The village will save an additional $497,829 by not filling many seasonal summer positions and by allowing current job openings to remain vacant until the latter half of 2021. Some capital improvement projects slated for 2020-2021 will also be postponed one year, saving nearly $1.7 million.
“We hope there will be a level of understanding among residents that some streets scheduled for improvements this year will be on hold while we ride out any potential financial storms brought on by the coronavirus. We will however look at cheaper, cost effective ways to bring some degree of improvement to those streets, where possible, in the meantime,” Mick said.
With the full financial fallout from the coronavirus still uncertain, Park Forest leaders hope a clearer picture on where village revenues stand emerges by December.
A public hearing on Park Forest’s proposed budget is scheduled for June 1 at 7 p.m. Park Forest’s 2020-2021 budget is expected to be adopted on June 15 at 7 p.m.
Due to the cornoavirus, meetings will be conducted via Zoom. Residents wishing to make public comments should submit their comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 3 p.m. the day of the meeting. Resident comments will be read during the public comment portion of the meeting.