Technology will play a key role in 2016, as the Village of Oak Park’s new fiscal year municipal budget focuses on maintaining service levels, while enhancing the quality of services provided.
New software solutions are planned for 2016 to streamline permitting, inspections and licensing, making it quicker and easier for both individuals and developers to invest in projects that improve the community and increase property values.
Wider applications of geographic information systems (GIS) data also are planned for the year ahead. Working in collaboration with a regional consortium of other governments, the Village is sharing costs and ideas to create new ways to manage service delivery and improve the efficiency of the workers who keep the snow plowed, the water flowing and the trees trimmed.
Technology will help make parking at public garages easier in 2016, too. New equipment set to be installed at the entrance and exits gates will give permit holders access with a smart phone barcode and allow visitors to pay with a credit card at all exits. New weather canopies also are planned to protect the equipment and drivers.
Maintaining and improving vital public infrastructure will continue to be a priority in 2016. This year’s budget builds upon the commitment made last year to invest an additional $20 million over five years in alleys and streets.
Oak Park has more than 600 alleys and 240 lane miles of streets, many in need of major repair. The multiyear commitment to infrastructure improvements relies on issuing bonds that can be repaid over the lives of the projects.
Through its legal authority as a home rule government, the Village has continued to lessen the reliance on property taxes by developing a diverse mix of revenue streams. Debt repayment, for example, will be supported by fee schedules established last year for residential garbage and water and sewer services, which, unlike property taxes, are based on use and offer opportunities for individuals and families to reduce what they pay.
Monthly refusing hauling fees will increase $1.50 to $21.10 for a 64-gallon cart, and by $2.50 to $26.38 for a 96-gallon cart. The cost of green yard waste and pink bulk refuse stickers will go up a nickel each to $2.45 and $2.05 each respectively.
Water and sewer fees are set to rise by 75 cents per 1,000 gallons to a combined monthly rate of $11.51. In addition to the $6 million typically paid to Chicago each year for the water Oak Parkers consume, the fees help the Village maintain the system that delivers the water to customers and carries the waste to the regional treatment plants.
The 2016 budget was crafted over several months, with public meetings hosted by the Finance Committee of the Village Board in October followed by reviews by the full Village Board in November. The budget was adopted at a public meeting in December.
Residents are invited to review the 2016 budget documents, as well as budget summaries from past years at www.oak-park.us/budget-summaries.
Click here to view a graphic of the 2016 budget at a glance