Proposed DeKalb County fiscal 2019 budget now filed for public viewing
SYCAMORE – Despite a few recent fiscal anomalies and other contentious county-related issues, the DeKalb County fiscal 2019 budget is looking like it will be a balanced one, county officials said.
The DeKalb County Board voted to place the proposed fiscal 2019 budget on file for public inspection during its meeting Wednesday night at the DeKalb County Legislative Center Gathertorium, 200 N. Main St. Board member Steve Faivre was absent.
DeKalb County Administrator Gary Hanson said there never was a concern about whether the county would have a balanced budget, but there was a concern of how deep some cuts might have had to be. He said there couldn’t be a lot added to the budget so that the county doesn’t have to dip into its emergency reserves, but he said it’s a relief that nothing is getting cut from the overall budget and that the county can continue to maintain its services.
“We’re very happy to give them [relief of] the storm clouds that were on the horizon for a lot of the past year,” Hanson said.
County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski Jr. said additional personnel in different county departments were requested to be added to the budget, but they didn’t make the cut. That includes additional public defenders and a jail correction’s deputy who would be the prison rape elimination area coordinator, according to Sept. 5 county finance committee documents.
“There are some departments that would like us to do that, but we’re holding the line on our budget and saying that we have to maintain this actual, real balanced budget,” Pietrowski said.
Hanson said the biggest thing that the county was facing in the past year was losing sales tax revenue from the inability to sell airline fuel within the county. He said that in the past, American Airlines and United Airlines would buy their airline fuel from Sycamore, and the sales tax from those purchases benefited the city and county, but laws changed to not allow that, and revenues from airline fuel now need to be spent at airports.
“That was a big hurdle to have to get over,” Hanson said.
Pietrowski said the goal is to pass the fiscal 2019 budget next month while still giving the public enough time to review it. He said that will be different than in past years because the county wanted to ensure the passage of a new wind energy ordinance in November before the terms of some current board members end.
Overall, Pietrowski said, he’s pleased no jobs had to be cut and that the county isn’t actively trying to dip into reserves as it has tried to do in budgets past.
“That’s something that was obviously a major goal of mine when becoming chair, and it’s great to me that we’ve been able to achieve that goal, and we’re going to continue to achieve that goal going forward,” Pietrowski said.