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Will County Board reviews fiscal year 2019 budget

Projections for Will County’s fiscal year 2019 budget show that it’s balanced.

At a meeting last week, Will County Executive Larry Walsh, Sr. provided an overview of the budget for members of the Will County Board.

The budget is comprised of $565 million, of which $201 million makes up the corporate fund and $364 million is stored in special funds.

“This year’s budget proposal meets all our debt obligations, contributes additional dollars toward our other post-employment benefits fund, and dedicates funding for Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund accelerated payments,” Walsh said.

Walsh said Will County prides itself on choosing not to use any cash reserves to balance the budget.

The county continues to maintain 22 to 26 percent of its corporate budget in cash reserves.

Walsh referenced Will County’s ability to retain its AA-plus bond rating and credited the accomplishment to stable fund balances, controlled expenditures, long-term planning and strong, fiscal policy.

“This is a testament to the fiscally, responsible approach the county board and county executive’s office has taken in recent years,” Walsh said.

The fiscal year 2018 budget, as previously presented, reflected a reduction in revenue of $2.4 million.

Walsh attributed the loss in funding, in part, to the State of Illinois and its decision to approve a 10 percent reduction in the local governmental distributive fund.

What’s more is the State of Illinois assessed a two percent fee on sales tax dollars generated in Will County.

With the passing of the State of Illinois’ 2019 budget earlier this year, the local governmental distributive fund is expected to reduce the county’s revenue by five percent.

In addition, the two percent fee applied to the county’s sales tax is to be reduced to 1.5 percent.

Walsh said he is optimistic that with the board’s cooperation, 2019 will represent a milestone for the future of Will County.

Walsh took time to thank county staff for doing their part to make sure that services continue to be provided to residents.

“You are what makes Will County government shine,” he said.

Projected tax levy increase discussed

Also at the meeting, officials took a look at the proposed levy for Will County.

The county anticipates generating $1.8 million for new property growth and $2.5 million to account for the consumer price index, or the rate of inflation. That translates to a projected levy increase of $4.3 million. Out of the new added funding, $3.6 million will go toward the corporate fund, $500,000 will be placed into the capital fund, and $200,000 will be allocated to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act and Illinois Municipal Retirement funds.

With increases to the equalized assessed valuation and consumer price index taken into account, Will County anticipates a 2018 tax rate of 0.5898 percent. Last year, residents were assessed property taxes at a rate of 0.5986 percent.

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