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ChristkindleMarkt cut in proposed Arlington Heights budget
Sheila Ahern | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 3/5/2009 12:02 AM

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Arlington Heights trustees will look over a proposed budget on Monday that is $10 million lighter then the one they approved last year.

Because the board approved a small levy increase in December, the 2009-2010 budget includes cuts in programs and services. In addition, department heads and Village Manager Bill Dixon are slated to get no raise. The proposed budget gives about 200 union employees in the fire and police departments a 3.75 percent raise, while about 250 nonunion employees would get a 2 percent raise, Dixon said.

The largest program cut will be ChristkindleMarkt - the post Thanksgiving shopping event in downtown Arlington Heights. The three-day event was based on the centuries-old tradition in Nuremberg, Germany. People spent the days after Thanksgiving shopping in tents set up adjacent to North School Park. There were also German food offerings and continual live musical performances.

The event was the brainchild of former trustee Stephen Daday, who proposed ChristkindleMarkt after seeing a successful one in Bethlehem, Pa.

Cutting the program will save $78,000, most of which was spent on overtime pay for village employees, Dixon said. Proposed elimination of open houses at the fire and public works departments will save about $11,000 each, Dixon said.

However, the big chunk of the savings will come from recent personnel moves.

A few weeks ago, six employees were laid off and four vacant positions won't be filled next year. That will save about $600,000 annually, Dixon said.

Some of the larger projects still included in the budget are:

• $2.12 million to upgrade Northwest Highway, Davis Street and Arthur Avenue. The work will widen and resurface the area as well as upgrade the traffic signal and railroad crossing.

• $165,000 to improve the traffic signal at Northwest Highway and Wilke.

• $85,000 for a new traffic signal at Kennicott and Euclid.

About 80 percent of the village's budget pays for employees' salaries and benefits. The village's portion of a resident's total tax bill is about 10 percent. The library fund consists of about 5 percent.

Overall, the proposed budget is down almost 7 percent from $142.4 million this year to $132.5 million for the budget year which starts May 1 and runs through April 30, 2010.

Arlington Heights trustees will discuss the budget on Monday, March 9; Thursday, March 12; and Wednesday, March 18.

No part of the budget is final until the board approves the budget on April 6.