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2017 budget not up her alley

To the editor,

I voted no on the 2017 Shorewood village budget. Here’s why.

The village pays lip service to fixing our alleys, but actual funding has been too little, too late. Trustee Allison Rozek and I are calling for a real alley improvement program in 2017 and beyond.

A little bit of history.

In 2014, $500,000 was added to the Long Range Financial Plan for alleys, but no projects were funded in the 2015 or 2016 budgets.

The amount included in the 2017 update to the Long Range Plan was reduced by half to $250,000.

The proposed budget for 2017 indicated that three alleys would be completed for that amount. Upon further questioning, we found that $250,000 will fund repairs to only two very small alleys.

This means that the vast majority of residents who live on alleys in Shorewood will have to wait until 2019, 2021 or even later for alley repairs.

Along with Trustee Rozek, I proposed two ways to fund additional alley reconstruction without raising taxes: transfer $70,000 of reserves (we are way over our own target for reserves), and reprogram a portion of the money for road maintenance projects in 2017, essentially pushing out the resurfacing of Sheffield to 2019. We found no support for either of these proposals from other members of the village board.

Truthfully, given the state of many alleys right now, we are going to need to discuss a temporary tax increase. Note that this tax increase would not be necessary if the CDA and board had moved toward earlier closure of TID 1.

I ask Shorewood residents to contact members of the village board or attend the Dec. 19 meeting at 7:30 p.m. and ask them to support a real, sustained alley program in Shorewood beginning in 2017.

Davida Amenta

Shorewood trustee

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