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McLean County Draft Budget Has Modest Changes From This Year

Charlie Schlenker

McLean County government will remain under financial pressure in the next budget year.

County Administrator Bill Wasson has issued a proposal for board review that totals more than 95-million dollars and anticipates further cuts in state funding.

"Those revenues include decreases in retail occupation sales tax, state income tax, personal property tax, all declining," said Wasson.

Wasson said land values will rise slightly, allowing the property tax rate to stay the same as the current year. Fee income is expected to go up. But, overall the picture is not on an upward trajectory,

"Growth in our community is slow at best and job numbers are stagnant across the state. And those create some significant challenges for us as we put together a budget," said Wasson.

Employment at the county will remain steady. But Wasson says the administration is in the process of reclassifying certain people to increase the efficiency of part time employees and seasonal occasional workers. Wasson says this does not necessarily mean the number of part time workers will increase and the number of full time employees will decrease. He said that will depend on a case by case analysis of job functions.

The proposed budget amounts to a five percent increase over last year.      

The plan includes a 1.75% pay increase for county workers, about the same as the rise in the consumer price index, or less than a half million dollars total. Health Insurance costs would decline slightly.

County Board committees will go over the proposal before the board passes a final plan.
County property taxes amount to less than 11% of the total property tax burden for area residents. Schools get the lions share.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.