Winnebago County board members meet Thursday evening to talk budget.
Earlier this month, the board faced a $4.1 million deficit. At the county board’s meeting of the whole, finance committee chairman Jaime Salgado revealed county officials revisited the numbers and estimate about $1.4 million more in additional revenue next year.
“We felt that we got closer to the end line of our fiscal cycle, so therefore we had a better projection of where we were going to end up and what next year’s revenue is going to be,” said Winnebago County board member Jaime Salgado (D-12). “That’s how [the additional revenue] was factored in.”
Winnebago County board member Daniel Fellars expressed his concerns over the estimates. The District 19 leader says it’s far too optimistic.
“I would much rather say we’re going to spend less and have the ability so spend more down the road,” said Fellars (D). “Than spend more and then when the money doesn’t come in, we’re left with a larger budget deficit.”
Among the proposed cuts are $330,000 in student loan assistance for State’s Attorney staff and taking vacant position salary dollars from county departments.
“Any open positions, just leaving the status quo wherever the staff levels are currently in those departments,” said Salgado.
With the adjustments and additional revenue, the remaining deficit is $689,000. Board members suggested dipping into county reserves to close the gap.
“At some point we have to draw the line because this keeps being the thing we fall back on,” said Fellars. “We can’t get the work done to cut the budget, we just go back into the reserves.”
Salgado feels the budget was pushed aside for far too long, adding board members have had to scramble in the twelfth hour to get it completed by the end of the month.
“We had so many distractions this year. You know, with the lawsuits going left and right, that we lost sight of the ball. That’s my frustration piece, I wish I could’ve pushed a little harder.”
The budget is set to be voted on next Thursday.