Notice anything different in Lake Zurich this holiday season? Lake Zurich’s downtown holiday lights were part of the cuts when the Lake Zurich village board passed a bridge budget last April, said Jodie Andrew, the village finance director.
Last spring, the village showed a deficit of $1.7 million and the board was faced with a decision to make significant cuts in personnel and service, or pass a bridge budget. The bridge budget is not sustainable in the long-term, but allows the board and staff time to take a methodical approach to addressing the long-term health of the village. Using the in expenditures from the general fund.
Village President Suzanne Branding said she only received one e-mail from a resident concerned that there were no holiday lights downtown. She said she told the resident she was sorry and that the lack of Christmas decorations represented a cost savings for the village.
“During these times anything that is not necessary we probably shouldn’t spend the money on,” Branding said.
In past years, the village put holiday lights on the trees in downtown Lake Zurich between Lions Drive and Old Road Road, the Promenade trees and arbor, at Celebration Park, Breezewald Park and Paulus Park, according to Public Works Director Dave Heyden. The village also put holiday wreaths and snowflakes on the antique lights on Main Street and at the Promenade.
Paulus Park is the only location with holiday lighting this year.
In a typical holiday season, the cost for the lights is $1,700 to $2,000, said Roy Witherow, assistant village manager.
An even larger expense is the labor. It takes one to two weeks to decorate and, depending on which employees are assigned the task, it can cost between $3,000 and $9,000, Witherow said.
Heyden said some of the lights are reused, but others, that are too difficult to remove, are cut down.
There are also electrical costs to the village.
“They are typically lit dusk to dawn as they run off the same circuits as our street lights and would typically be lit from the tree lighting ceremony on the Saturday after Thanksgiving until around Presidents Day in February,” Heyden said.