Kane County beginning budget debates
By Matt Brennan For The Beacon-News August 29, 2012 12:40PM
Updated: November 30, 2012 11:09AM
Without an in-house finance director in place, Kane County is beginning the process of setting a 2013 budget.
The county was left short handed in the Finance Department when Executive Director Cheryl Pattelli left her post for a position in Colorado. With the need for a new budget before Dec. 1, the county has turned to the help of two staff accountants, and an outside consultant to fill the void.
While Finance Committee Chairman Jim Mitchell expressed an interest in having county departments submit flat budgets with no spending increases, he met with some resistance from his committee members.
Committee member John Hoscheit said Wedneday he wanted to see the budget evaluated on a department-by-department basis.
“There may be some areas where we need to use discretion more than others,” Hoscheit said.
Hoscheit noted that the County Board needs to evaluate all aspects of department budgets, and that not all departments are on equal footing as far as the revenue that they generate.
“If we’re on a flat revenue stream, we’re going to have to take that money from somewhere,” he said.
Committee member Phil Lewis wanted to make sure that the Finance Committee has the chance to evaluate department budgets in terms of what the departments are doing with personnel. He noted that personnel costs account for about 80 percent of the budget.
The Finance Committee set a special meeting for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 10 to evaluate individual department budgets. The county still needs projections from the consultant for the fiscal year as part of the puzzle for figuring out the budget. Without the projections, the accompanying budget is just a guess, Mitchell said.
Mitchell is also proposing a 2 percent pay increase across the board for all non-union county employees, depending on the end of the year projections.
The committee also discussed whether to start the process of looking for a new finance director in the two months before the election, when the makeup of the entire board, including a new chairman, could drastically change.
Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay has said that she would not appoint anyone before she leaves office. The committee is talking about posting a job opening and gathering resumes to start the process for the next board.