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Local

Elburn officials pass budget, discuss supporting local businesses

Fund could support local restaurants, help them provide meals to first responders

Downtown Elburn.
Downtown Elburn.

ELBURN – Village President Jeff Walter is looking to a few entities in Elburn to set up a GoFundMe page to raise money that will go to restaurants in town to purchase meals for first responders and other employees of “necessary businesses.”

The coordination of such a fund may be done by the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, the Elburn Lions Club, or by Walter and his wife, Carrie. The money will be “spread around” to restaurants in town, and meals will be delivered to members of the Elburn Police Department, the Elburn and Countryside Fire District, Jewel Osco employees, doctors’ offices and others on a rotating basis, Walter said at Elburn’s first virtual village board meeting April 6.

Motorcycle rights organization DuKane A.B.A.T.E.’s leader Chris Hansen has volunteered to deliver the meals.

Walter said he can’t take credit for the idea. He said it was something that Batavia MainStreet came up with for its town, raising $10,000 with the effort. He said he doesn’t expect to make that much money in Elburn, but he mentioned Eddie Gaedel raising money to keep its employees on the payroll with a night of live virtual music provided by the Rob Post Band. Through the sale of gift certificates that may be used in the future at Eddie Gaedel’s, they raised $1,000 in one night.

Board members also approved the 2020-21 fiscal budget on April 6, with the qualifier that at each board meeting, the board will review revenue coming in against planned projects in order to cut or postpone nonessential items identified by department heads ahead of time.

Trustee Pat Schuberg said they already know income taxes will be delayed and that the timing of property tax disbursement is not yet clear.

“Some items we will have to spend money on, such as police, clean water and waste-water treatment,” Trustee Bill Grabarek said.

“Our revenues will be delayed. We just don’t know how much or for how long,” finance director Doug Elder said. “We’ll need to play it pretty close to the vest and take a conservative approach to the new year.”

Walter said the one bright spot is the amount of revenue the Jewel Osco is taking in.

That will translate into sales tax revenue for the village.

“Jewel is doing great,” he said.

The general fund for the 2020-21 fiscal year already has a $634,000 deficit, with projected revenue budgeted at $3.2 million and expenses at $3.8 million, Elder said. Although this year’s budget included a $517,000 deficit, the village at this point has spent $117,000 less than it has taken in. However, Elder cautioned that does not include expenditures planned for the end of the year.

Police Chief Nick Sikora said that compliance with the shelter-in-place order has been pretty good, with only a few anonymous calls regarding some youth issues and the possibility of one nonessential business that had been thought to be operating.

“There’s a lot of people walking and riding bikes,” he noted.

He said several businesses in the area have donated N95 masks to the police department, and they have what they might need at this point.

According to the Kane County Health Department website, there are two confirmed COVID-19 cases in both Elburn and Maple Park, and seven in Sugar Grove.

Walter said he was told the cases were not within the village proper, but nonetheless, he said the village has to do what makes sense.

“We’re not going to arrest people or give them tickets [for not complying with social distancing], but we will remind them,” he said. “We also have to keep our sense of humor. And we want to support our local businesses.”

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce has a listing of Chamber member restaurants and their hours of operation on its Facebook page.

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