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Daily Journal
     October 27, 2020      #67-301 KDJ

Bradley reports $413,862 budget surplus 

By Lee Provost

BRADLEY — In days of bleak economic news, Bradley has bucked the trend.

First, village finance director Rob Romo reported the village had an audited budget surplus from the previous budget year of $413,862.

Second, the first month of the 1-percentage-point increase in the sales tax rate generated $100,000 more in July than the administration had projected meaning the tax increase could bring in some $4 million, rather than the $3.25 million projected when the measure was placed on the ballot.

Third, the administration and village board committed to hiring five additional full-time firefighters/paramedics before the current fiscal year concludes April 30. The department currently has five full-time officers.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Watson was all smiles as the three financial developments were laid out at Monday’s Bradley Village Board meeting.

He noted the village has not been in this strong of a fiscal position for at least 10 years.

“Promises made, promises kept,” Watson said after the meeting, borrowing a phase from President Donald Trump. Watson said he believed the sales tax would do better than they projected, but they wanted to be conservative with their projection.

As a result of the sales tax hike, the village will be reimbursing property tax payers half of their payment this year. If all goes as anticipated in year two of the tax, residents will receive a 100 percent reimbursement for the village’s portion of property taxes.

Regarding the budget surplus, Romo said this measure was completed due to many factors, including automation, not replacing staff members and moves such as joining the countywide dispatch center as opposed to maintaining a separate complex.

Since the 2012, Bradley has had a budget surplus on only three occasions: $413,862 in 2020; $16,694 in 2019; and $257,438 in 2013.

Since 2012, the village had reported deficits in several fiscal years: $384,793 in 2012, $442,856 in 2014, $2.13 million in 2015, $120,037 in 2016, $337,065 in 2017, and $955,611 in 2018.

Watson said in addition to adding firefighters — the village has talked about constructing a second fire station — a chief target for growing revenues will be improving roads.

Watson said the benefit of the sales-tax increase is that people from outside Bradley are helping to fund needed upgrades within the village.

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