Kane board gives its OK to hike in budget
By Matt Brennan For Sun-Times Media October 8, 2013 4:10PM
Updated: November 10, 2013 6:26AM
GENEVA — Despite the initial concerns of a few Kane County Board members, a finalized budget that includes $80.4 million in general fund spending and revenues — as well as a frozen property tax levy — sailed through the board Tuesday on a 22-2 vote.
The board’s preliminary approval means the budget will go on public display Oct. 25. The board could adopt the budget on Nov. 12. The $80.4 million in general fund spending represents a 5.1 percent increase in expenditures over last year’s budget of $76.2 million.
Board member Phil Lewis (R-St. Charles) noted that the county spent a similar $80.3 million in 2012, but that included employee retirement contributions, reducing deb, and paying future expenditures. Those are items not factored into the spending for the 2014 general fund.
“I’m concerned,” Lewis said. “I think this is a dramatic increase too quickly.”
This is the first time through the budget process for new board Chairman Chris Lauzen, new Finance Director Joe Onzick, and several new county board members. The budget has gone through several reviews and drafts at various committee meetings.
Onzick called it a “strong” budget but there are things the county will need to do to strengthen its position in the future.
“We will need to find other sources of revenue, and cut costs,” he said.
The budget also includes what Onzick and Lauzen called a compromise with Kane County Coroner Rob Russell, who originally proposed a $110,655 — or 15 percent — increase in the coroner’s office budget. They recommended giving Russell $60,781, or an 8 percent increase.
The funding would be used to pay existing staff for overtime and on-call hours, instead of hiring two new staff members. It also would not cover an additional $30,000 in autopsy expenses, which Russell says he needs.
Russell said during the meeting that his department would not be able to make the reduction in his request work.