Mayor Juracek Delivers State of Village Address Citing “High Prospects for the Future”
Mayor Arlene Juracek delivered her State of the Village address Thursday, January 11th at the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce Dynamic Year Luncheon. In her speech, Juracek reflected on the past year-long celebration of the Village’s Centennial anniversary. “I hope the one thing you take away from my remarks is that our celebration was as much about our high prospects for the future as it was about our reverence for the past,” Juracek said.
In her remarks, the mayor reviewed the 2018 budget numbers featuring a combined capital and operating budget of $123.7, reflecting a 6.6% increase from the 2017 budget.
Juracek noted that “While property taxes have become a convenient scapegoat when describing the high costs of living and doing business in Illinois, the village portion of your property taxes represent only 12% of your total bill.”
- 85% of Village revenues come from sources other than property taxes.
- (25%) is from direct charges for service such as water, sewer and waste removal.
- (23%) are termed “intergovernmental,” and are Village portion of the state sales, income, and personal property replacement taxes, motor fuel taxes and grant proceeds.
She cautioned that as the state looks to relieve its financial problems by confiscating intergovernmental funds specifically designated for local purposes, a huge level of risk is imposed on the village for the future. The Mayor stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy reserve level, especially in light of threats of diversion of intergovernmental revenues at the state level.
Juracek discussed the recent annexation of 223 acres on the south end of the village, which increased the equalized assessed valuation (EAV) by $67.2 million with no appreciable added impact on village costs of service, lowering the property tax rate to the benefit of all village taxpayers.
Stories regarding declines in statewide population have been prevalent in local news recently, and Juracek explained that they are not always showing the full picture. “Out-migration, including flight to other regions of the country seems to be the favored explanation, yet if any of you have been to your local block party in the last year I’m pretty sure you, like me, have marveled at the influx of young families with children – lots of small children – to the community,” Juracek said.
Census data shows a modest increase in population in Mount Prospect from 2010 – 2016, from 54,167 to 54,552, and these counts do not take into account recent annexations. While the trend statewide is an overall increase in median age, Mount Prospect’s median age decreased slightly from 39.7 to 39.5, suggesting an increase in births and an influx of younger families into the village.
Mount Prospect’s housing market remains strong with a homeowner vacancy rate decreasing from 1.6% in 2010 to 1.3% in 2016. Home prices are on the rise, with the median single family house sales price increasing 22% since 2013 to $326,150 in 2016.
The Mayor reported that the Village celebrated 23 ribbon cuttings in 2017, featuring a wide variety of service and manufacturing-oriented businesses, restaurants and retail. She also called attention the importance of the tech, industrial and manufacturing sector businesses that contribute to the local economy. She explained the revival taking place at the Kensington Business Center (KBC) which has resulted in a low vacancy rate (9%) and significant spin-off benefit to the surrounding restaurants and retail centers in the Village, including Randhurst Village.
Economic Development Projects on the horizon for 2018 include
- A commercial and industrial redevelopment near the northwest corner of Elmhurst and Algonquin Roads (Alter Development);
- The long-vacant Mitchell Buick site on Rand Road, which is seeking zoning entitlement for a new restaurant as well as national service franchises (Mount Prospect Pointe);
- The property located at the intersection of Busse Ave and Main Street, currently under review for 20 West, a mixed use, high-end rental development concept with a restaurant;
- The former Parenti Rafaelli site at the corner of Prospect Avenue and Maple Street, a great opportunity for additional retail and residential units in the downtown.
In order to provide services in a more efficient and cost effective manner, the Village is currently reviewing its building permit process. Recent reorganization in the Community Development Department has allowed the Village to provide a higher level of customer service without added cost to the resident and taxpayers.
Through prudent financial planning, the Village Board is prepared with a risk mitigation strategy for factors beyond their control that may impact the budget, such as the state’s budget crisis and the upcoming elections. Depending on the degree of fiscal impact, these efforts will allow the village to reduce costs to live within the financial constraints.
The Mayor assured residents, businesses and all stakeholders that she, the Village Board and staff will “continue to be good stewards of the Village, that we will listen to the community and be responsive.”
“Our neighborhoods are vibrant with the voices of young families who come for our schools, our sense of community and a belief that ‘where friendliness is a way of life’ is more than a slogan,” Mayor Juracek said. “We are truly a place to celebrate."