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Hammond officials hammer out proposed budget

The goal for establishing this year's Village of Hammond budget was simple.

"I didn't want to spend any more money than last year," explained Vince Trudell, Village of Hammond president, before the finance and personnel committee looked at this year's proposed budget.

The proposed budget includes a 1/2 percent decrease in taxes, and a decrease of 1.5 percent in total revenues and expenses.

Expenses were cut in several areas, with outlay funds being decreased the most overall.

To set the budget this year, Trudell met with the department heads -- Rod Turk of public works, Rick Coltrain of the police department, Michelle Johnson of the library and Kelly Brett of the clerk's office -- to develop a rough draft of the budget. The finance and personnel committee met last Monday to look it over. The committee then reported to the full board about the proposed budget.

The proposed budget will be considered during the 2010 Budget Approval and Public Hearing, planned for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, at the Village Hall.

Resident survey

The Village of Hammond has released the findings of its recent survey of residents.

The survey asked residents how important they feel various services and expenses the village offers are to them. Answers were based on a five-point scale, ranging from "no value" to "high value." Forty-four questions, divided amongst six categories, were asked.

About 7 percent of village residents (124 out of 1,723) responded to the survey. It was mailed to all homes in the village limits, and was posted on the village's Web site.

Four out of six questions related to the clerk's office were deemed of "some value," according to the majority of those taking the survey. Those services were Monday-Friday office coverage, spring and fall newsletters, maintaining the village's Web site and maintaining village utility accounts. The January tax payment collection was deemed of "no value" to the majority of survey takers, while maintaining village records earned a "high value" rating.

All three questions in the miscellaneous village services category were deemed of "some value." Services asked about were engineering, village attorney and building inspector.

All but four of nine questions concerning the police department were deemed of "high value." Parking enforcement tied with responses of "no value" and "little value" from the majority. Animal control and issuing vehicle temporary plates were determined to be of "some value" by the majority.

Only two of the questions concerning the library received less than "high value" responses. Those questions were related to fax and copier services and having local newspapers available; the majority said those services were of "some value."

The question with the greatest number of "high value" responses concerning snow removal by the Public Works Department. In regards to snow removal, 102 people (89.2 percent) ranked it as of "high value." The tractor pull got the lowest response in the Public Works section, at "no value."

Full results from the survey are published on the village Web site, at Responses to open-ended questions will not be released to the public but all board members were able to review them.