Saturday, September 8, 2012
McHenry County Board Girds For Budget Battles
Later Austin called the flat budget and levy "unsustainable" but said it was what members seemed to want.
Under Illinois' so-called Tax Cap law the Board could boost the County property tax levy as much as three percent for inflation to fund the coming year's budget. However, last year a sizable minority opposed even the 1.5 percent levy increase allowed for the current budget. Many said McHenry County ought to spend money already in hand instead of increasing the levy on taxpayers.
Former Finance Committee Chairman Marc Munaretto, Algonquin, suggested a more complicated plan to use "savings" Tuesday, only this time to protect the County's bond rating. "(The Tax Cap) doesn't really give us a lot of flexibility...but it does give us an opportunity to abate that portion that would be passed along as an increase to the taxpayers," he said. On paper the tax levy would go up, something the rating agencies like to see, but in practice taxpayers wouldn't have to actually pay it--at least not this time.
Current Finance Chairman Scott Breeden warned the idea could cut both ways, though. "As you start spending our financial reserves you start affecting the bond rating," too he said.
Austin promised Board members a list of recommended "supplementals", new expenses, for their Sept. 18 meeting.
In the pic: Some County Board members believe McHenry County has too much cash. The County tries to keep five months' money to pay for daily operations but Administrator Peter Austin included this chart Tuesday showing how much that varies.